Eagles tight end Zach Ertz had seven catches for 91 yards in last Sunday’s victory over the Giants and that’s the kind of productivity that the team has been able to take for granted this season.
Ertz has 84 catches for 895 yards so far this season and both of those marks represent career highs for the six-year veteran. If he continues making plays at the same pace, he’ll hit a lot more than personal milestones. Brian Westbrook’s franchise record of 90 catches in a season will almost certainly fall if Ertz remains healthy and he is on pace to set an NFL record for tight ends as well.
Jason Witten set a record for receptions by a tight end in a single season with 110 in 2012, but Ertz’s average of over 7.6 catches per game would leave him with 122 for the year if it remains in place. As Jeff McLane of Philly.com points out, Ertz is also on pace for over 1,300 receiving yards and no tight end has ever had that many yards and 100 catches in the same season.
“Well, he’s a big guy and he’s got excellent play strength, a really good catch radius and strong hands,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said of Ertz at a Tuesday press conference. “So he can catch it away from his body, and even in those tight spaces like you talk about, he’s able to create a little bit more space for himself by using his body and his length. He’s got absolutely fantastic hands, so Carson has a lot of confidence in that and puts it in the right spot for him to be able to make a play.”
Ertz may not wind up rewriting the record book in the final five weeks, but he’ll likely get every chance to do so unless the Eagles start doing something radically different on offense.