September 2, 2021   6 MIN READ

Inside The Birds: Inside Zach Ertz’s Change Of Heart


The 53-man roster has been assembled. The practice squad has come together. The Eagles are preparing for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Falcons in Atlanta..

On the latest Inside The Birds, Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher recap the roster, practice squad and the sudden change of heart from Zach Ertz about his Eagles status.

ITB photo: Zach Ertz is suddenly optimistic about his Eagles career and his outlook for 2020.

Adam Caplan: “I was intrigued, I gotta tell you. There were some rumors he was going to talk in training camp. His comments were fascinating, not quite what I expected. I thought it was fascinating when he said he wanted to end his career as an Eagle. I think he came to the realization that trade wasn’t gonna happen. It didn’t happen, and he’s going to be an Eagle. I love how he said …. he’s back and he got the clear mind. This time last year … he had the bad contract negotiations, it all broke down, it was just not the way either side thought it would be resolved. I don’t think Zach was very happy, it was not a secret. Then Zach suffers a significant ankle injury early in the season. I just think everything has been positive, as Zach said. For a lack of a better term, I think he felt reborn.”

Geoff Mosher: “Knowing he has always loved being an Eagle, he has always love being in the city, his Ertz Family Foundation is doing a lot right now. His, his wife Julie, and his family are dedicated to this city and being very charitable. Knowing the situation, it was pretty much out of his control … I don’t think anything we talked about in the past that – he did want to be somewhere else, he didn’t want to, did want to be trade, he was unhappy – none of that is not true. But the bottom line is he doesn’t control it. The Eagles control his situation. He’s under contract with the Eagles right now. So what he’s doing is – and I think this show his maturity and how genuine he is — he’s just saying, ‘It’s out of my control. I’m gonna make the best of the situation.”

“What I question, and it’s really not from Zach’s vantage point, is that you and I know the reason Zach Ertz was not moved wasn’t because the Eagles had some great desperate despite to hang onto him and make him an Eagle for life and things like that. They were not getting the value they wanted in return for a trade. So what i wonder now is … does this mean Zach has specifically told Howie Roseman and the front office to please not trade him. On top of that, have the Eagles told Zach, ‘We will not trade you even if somebody does lose a tight end and gives us the value that we’re looking for,’ – a third or second or whatever Howie wants.

“I feel like if the Eagles get an offer Howie likes he will make that move. Is that going to be OK with Zach, who just basically told you everything in the past is in the past and he even said he wanted to be an Eagle for life? What do the coaches want here? Do they want to be 11 personnel? Are they going to be happy being 12 personnel? There’s a whole lot here that’s unanswered.

Caplan: “They don’t have a lot of pass targets. it’s {Dallas] Goedert. It’s Ertz. It’s [Jalen] Reagor. It’s Devonta Smith and Quez Watkins. If everyone can stay healthy, it’s not bad. They got sped. They got youth, but as we’ve said for months, coaches never want to be forced to play certain personnel groupings and I’m fascinated to see how they’re gonna work this out.”

Jordan Howard

Caplan: “They’re not playing a game this week. They’ve got till Saturday, the day before the Atlanta game, 4 p.m. Eastern to sign him off the practice squad, to add the fourth back and then his role will be back. It’s still very surprising.”

Mosher: “This policy started last year where you could do two things: one, you could sign a veteran to the practice squad – no way they would have been able to do that to Jordan Howard three years ago – and you could activate two practice squad players to your active roster on game day.”

Caplan: “If you look at the situation at running back, they’re OK for this game as long as nobody is hurt. It’s just a matter of: Do they think they need to get Howard off the practice squad?”

Mosher: “They have to. What if they’re winning the game by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and they need a closer?”

Landon Dickerson

Caplan: “I just don’t know when he’s gonna be ready. Just because he’s on the 53 doesn’t mean he’s ready. They obviously believe he and Rodney McLeod will be ready within first six weeks of the season. People will point out the Alshon Jeffrey situation, which is certainly fair game. The Eagles clearly thought he’d be ready within the first six weeks; it backfired on them. I don’t know if Jeffrey had setbacks or what, it was the strangest situation for them. They blew that one, but there had to be a reason for it.”

DT Depth

Mosher: “They kept Marlon Tuipulotu because, I guess, they drafted him. He didn’t perform well in camp. They had to put T.Y. McGill on the Covid list and they released Hassan Ridgeway. That leaves them with Tuipulotu and Milton Williams. As we saw in the preseason they struggled to stop the run. If [Fletcher] Cox or [Javon] Hargrave are hurt, you kind of wonder what’s going on. I feel like this is a position where’s there is going to be some cosmetic surgery going on in the next few days or leading up to the opener.”

Caplan: “They need someone with experience. This is yet another surprise. Ridgeway, we had heard he didn’t do as well as he thought he did and that’s why they cut him. He was one of those guys who didn’t get a job on Wednesday. I have a hard time believing they’re going to go into the first week vs. Atlanta without a veteran backup there.”

– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for

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