Tight end Zach Ertz spent a good chunk of the offseason in Arizona doing MMA training in his never-ending quest to improve his blocking.
Judging by his play so far in training camp, it worked.
“He’s certainly a more efficient blocker,’’ offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “His redeeming quality as a tight end is as a pass receiver. We all know that.
“But what’s important and what was maybe not considered a redeeming quality, you improve at. And we’ve seen those improvements that he’s focused on in the offseason.
“He’s better with his feet. He’s doing a better job of hitting his target. And depending on where the play is being run, he has a little better idea of how the defender is going to try to beat him and then how to finish the block.’’
Ertz was the #13 TE in both standard and PPR formats despite only playing half of the Eagles’ snaps in his second year. Most (73%) of his snaps came on passing downs, so if his playing time is going to increase, a majority of the additional snaps are likely to come in run formations. Still, there’s upside with Ertz if he begins to see starter’s snaps. The Eagles lost their leading receiver -- first DeSean Jackson and then Jeremy Maclin -- in back-to-back seasons, so there will be opportunity from a targets standpoint. Ertz's snaps are a guessing game right now.