Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Ertz could be a vital cog in Week 3

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

In case you haven’t heard, I have a rare bit of good news in the world of Philly sports: Zach Ertz has been activated from the reserves/COVID list and is eligible for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3.

I know, crazy, right? I thought being a fan trapped within the oeuvre of sports played within the City of Brotherly Love was only supposed to be an unrelenting string of disappointments that you are either born into or are crazy enough to join; you’re telling me something good happened?

Well, to paraphrase both the great Naturo Uzumaki and a certain internet meme frog: Believe it, my dudes.

So, with Ertz set to be back and ready to rock for the Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 3 Monday Night Football romp with the Dallas Cowboys, what can fans expect to see from the fifth-leading receiver in franchise history?

Hopefully a lot, as the Cowboys have allowed the fourth-most yards to tight ends so far this season league-wide.

Ertz and Goedert could have very good Week 3s for the Philadelphia Eagles.

In Week 2, the Philadelphia Eagles were noticeably shy about targeting the middle of the field.

Granted, that could be for a number of different reasons. Maybe Jalen Hurts didn’t feel comfortable targeting Fred Warner. Or maybe, Nick Sirianni simply wanted to take advantage of the Niners’ depleted outside cornerback depth and opted to attack the perimeters instead?. Heaven knows the team’s discrepancy in time of possession didn’t help their cause, as SF had the ball for a whopping 10 minutes more than the Eagles (more on that here).

Well, whatever the reason – or, more likely, combination of reasons – it’s never a good sign when Quez Watkins has 34 more yards than the entire rest of the team’s pass-catching options combined, especially when his career-best performances were fueled by a single, awe-inspiring 91-yard reception.

Fortunately, the Birds could look for a comeback performance in Week 3, as the Cowboys’ defense hasn’t been particularly unimpressive through the first two weeks of the season, especially their linebacking and safety corps.

Though the sample size may be small, the Cowboys currently rank seventh in total yards allowed, trailing only the Minnesota Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Seattle Seahawks, the Baltimore Ravens, the Kansas City Cheifs, and the Houston Texans, who have already played their Week 3 game versus the Carolina Panthers.

Are things all bad for the Cowboys? No. They currently rank 18th in points allowed per game and 25th in rushing yards allowed per game, but their 346 passing yards allowed per game ranks second in the league behind only the Baltimore Ravens, who had their first two games of the season against the oddly potent Las Vegas Raiders and Big Red’s Kansas City Cheifs.

The Cowboys, to their credit, have faced a pair of tough offensive foes too, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Chargers both have higher-powered offenses than the Eagles, but, in a weird twist of fate, Philadelphia’s defense has actually held up the best of the three through two games across the board.

Will Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, and company have their hand full on Monday night? Oh heck yes, but so will the middle of the Cowboys’ defense, as they lack any elite coverage players who can completely take Dallas Godert or Zach Ertz out of the game, let alone both at the same time.

Through the first two weeks of the season, the Cowboys only have one defender, Atlanta transplant/starting strong safety Damontae Kazee, who has a PFF coverage rating over 70.0 (subscription required). Their best coverage linebacker has been Jaylon Smith, who has only played 51.5 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and has allowed a catch on eight of his nine targets and a receiving touchdown.

Sure, the Cowboys also have prized free agent addition Keanu Neal and former first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch, but they’ve combined to allow nine of the 10 balls thrown their way to be caught for 102 total yards.

With 2021 first-round pick Micah Parsons largely expected to play on the defensive line to make up for the loss of DeMarcus Lawrence to a foot injury, if there was ever a game for Hurts to gets his middle of the field mojo back, it was this one.

Next. The Philadelphia Eagles have a time of possession problem. dark

Would I bet big money on Zach Ertz turning in a massive performance in Week 3? No. I think the days of the pride of Stanford recording triple-digit receiving yard games are pretty much over, but in a game where the Philadelphia Eagles need every competitive advantage to keep up with one of the best offenses in the business, there should be plenty of targets to be had across the middle under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.