"The game truly started to slow down towards the second half of the year. It was such a whirlwind at the beginning that I didn't really know what was going on. The playbook wasn't too hard to grasp, but just the play speed was the biggest thing to get used to," Eagles TE Zach Ertz said. "Last year, I didn't know what to expect from the offense and just being out here in Philadelphia as a whole. Obviously, this year it's going to be a lot better."
After notching 22 catches and all four of his touchdowns in the final eight regular season games, Ertz wanted to continue the momentum through the offseason. He returned to California and has returned to Philadelphia feeling "a lot stronger, faster" than last year. He's put a huge emphasis on getting better as a run blocker. Ertz recognizes that he's more of a move tight end while Brent Celek is the traditional, in-line variety, but in Chip Kelly's offense you have to be able to do it all.
"If you want to play fast, you can't be subbing guys in and out," Ertz said. "With the tight ends we have, we're able to do that whether it's in-line or out wide as a receiver. That's the biggest thing with the tight end group that we have."
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there. If he can take a step forward in the blocking department, it will help his overall fantasy outlook.