The Arizona Cardinals have enjoyed a breakout 2021 campaign. After battling injuries, they appear to be back at full strength. Zach Ertz is one of the newest additions, but he already feels at home. The Super Bowl champion tight end believes he can get back to the big game, catching passes from Kyler Murray.
Ertz recently gave his star quarterback the ultimate compliment despite playing with him for only a few weeks.
Zach Ertz gave high praise to Kyler Murray
Zach Ertz spent the first eight seasons of his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. The front office decided to deal him to Arizona midway through the 2021 season. While emotions were running high for the longtime Eagle, he knew that the change of scenery would place him on a contender.
The 3-time Pro Bowler went from catching passes from Jalen Hurts one week to Kyler Murray the next. In a recent appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Ertz talked about what it’s like playing with the Cardinals’ signal-caller.
“Before I came here, I viewed him [Murray] as a guy who made a lot of plays off-script,” said Ertz. “He didn’t play a lot from the pocket. In my experience, he uses his feet as a luxury. He wants to play football from the pocket.”
The veteran tight end notices a unique skill set in Murray and thinks the sky is the limit for the 24-year-old quarterback.
“I’ve been so impressed with him as a passer,” added Ertz. “He’s a great quarterback. He’s probably the most talented player I’ve ever been around. There’s nothing on the football field he can’t do, and he’s a really good leader. It’s been a joy to play with him.”
Zach Ertz has played with some talented guys over the years, including Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and DeSean Jackson. However, he sees something different in Kyler Murray.
The Cardinals QB has played like an MVP when healthy
The Arizona Cardinals head into their Monday Night Football tilt against the Los Angeles Rams with an impressive 10-2 record. Kliff Kingsbury’s crew has surprised a lot of people this season. Kyler Murray’s development deserves plenty of credit for the team’s success thus far.
Murray is in his third NFL season, and he’s playing the best football of his young career. The Oklahoma product looked like a legitimate MVP candidate through the first seven weeks of the 2021 season.
The Cardinals’ signal-caller suffered an ankle injury in the Week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The ailment caused him to miss the next three games. However, Murray returned against the Chicago Bears in Week 13 and didn’t miss a beat.
In nine games, the Bedford, Texas native has thrown for 2,399 yards, 19 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. His completion percentage (72.7%) is the highest mark of his career. He’s also added 206 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Murray has taken a step forward in his development in 2021. With such natural arm talent, he can sometimes have the tendencies of a gunslinger. However, he’s making strides to become a better decision-maker from his quarterback position.
Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the NFC and will need its star player to continue balling to keep the momentum going into the playoffs.
Arizona should rely heavily on Zach Ertz in big games
The Arizona Cardinals were already proving to be a force to reckon with in the NFC. The addition of Zach Ertz makes this team even more formidable.
Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is still a top 10 unit, even with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins each missing three games. The Cardinals are averaging 28.5 points and 368.7 yards per game.
Signing James Conner was an underrated move as he’s become a crucial piece to Arizona’s Super Bowl hopes. He’s been the primary goal-line back, scoring 12 touchdowns on the season. His presence helps take pressure off of Murray in the red zone.
Ertz is another guy who will continue to relieve pressure from the third-year signal-caller. Thanks to Dallas Goedert, the Stanford product seemed to fall out of favor in Philadelphia. However, he filled a need for the Cardinals.
At 31 years old, Ertz still has some football left in the tank. He’s proving that he can still be a key contributor on a championship run. He’s recorded 23 receptions for 279 yards and three touchdowns in six games with the Cardinals.
It would be unrealistic to expect Ertz to be a stud. However, opposing defenses must account for his ability to get open, especially near the goal line.
Most importantly, Zach Ertz is a veteran who brings championship experience. That could prove to be invaluable for a young quarterback like Kyler Murray.
On the flip side, Murray’s extraordinary skills could help extend his new tight end’s career.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference