Zach’s rib injury Ertz the Birds
PHILADELPHIA >> The Eagles could be heading to Chicago with their best tight end, Zach Ertz, unavailable to play against the Bears next Monday night at Soldier Field.
Head coach Doug Pederson said Monday that Ertz suffered a “first rib displacement” after taking a hit on his left shoulder in the first quarter of Sunday’s 29-10 season-opening victory over the Cleveland Browns. Pederson said Ertz’s status has been designated as “week to week.”
“It’s a little bit longer (than the usual day-to-day report), obviously,” said Pederson, who also tagged injured cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hamstring strain) as being week to week. “We’ve got to kind of get them through the week to see where they are by game time coming up Monday.”
Ertz was a key cog in the scenario that made Carson Wentz look like a blooming star in his first NFL game. Wentz completed 22 of 37 pass attempts for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ertz caught six balls on seven targets, good for 58 yards.
If Ertz can’t go, veteran Brent Celek, who made good on his only target for an 11-yard grab against the Browns, would be much more involved in the game plan. Third tight end Trey Burton was out with a calf
injury Sunday but Pederson is optimistic he would be back by Monday.
“A displacement is not a broken bone at all; It just means that the rib has displaced itself underneath the collarbone,” Pederson said. “But it’s not a fracture or a broken bone.”
Pederson said Ertz took a hit after he made a crossing pattern catch and turned upfield near the Cleveland sideline in the first quarter.
“He turned up the sideline right on the boundary and went to protect himself and right on the sideline, lowered the shoulder and took a direct blow on his left shoulder,” Pederson
said. “Right away when he came off after that series, (athletic trainer Chris) Peduzzi came and said, ‘Hey, he’s got a left shoulder strain.’ We could tell that at the time. But as the game wore on, I didn’t know that anything was more serious than that.
“It just shows the toughness, the physical toughness that he has, once we found out the extent of the injury,” Pederson added about Ertz. “For him to play through it, it’s a credit to him to be able to fight through and battle through . ... He’ll probably have to be cleared (to play again) because it’s a dangerous situation with displaced
bones. You are talking up around the neck and head area, so any type of blow again could do further damage to that.”
*** With McKelvin also possibly out for Game 2, Pederson said the Eagles would probably make a roster move this week, perhaps promoting rookie corner C.J. Smith from the practice squad.
There is also sure to be more playing time for Jalen Mills, whose late-game hit on Robert Griffin III left the Cleveland quarterback with a sprained shoulder, but no complaints about the hit Mills had put on him. Pederson seemed to agree with that assessment.
“I thought he played well, coming in there and filling in for (McKelvin),” Pederson said of Mills, who had two tackles. “There’s a good chance that he gets more work, obviously, this week. I’m very comfortable with what he has done so far through training camp. Again, he’s another one of those young players that we have that will just get better with more reps.”
*** Pederson spent a lot of time talking about the poise shown by his rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Then he was asked about his poise as a first-game NFL head coach, which began with him standing next to vicepresident Joe Biden holding an oversized American Flag banner.
“Standing there holding the flag and just kind of looking around the stadium and soaking everything in, was a great feeling for me,” Pederson said. “To stand there and see the people, what a great crowd we had. And I was calm. Yeah, I had the internal butterflies like probably every coach and player in the National Football League has on any given game. But it was calm. I was excited and I was ready to watch our guys perform.”