Lions secure ex-Cardinals TE Zach Ertz for practice squad ahead of NFC Championship game

The Detroit Lions, led by breakout star Puka Nacua and super quarterback Jared Goff, have been soaring high in the 2023 NFL season. They have ended their regular season with a whopping 12-5 record. After smashing the Los Angeles Rams in the wild card playoff game, the team advanced their postseason journey by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in divisional match.

The Lions are scheduled to face off against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. Ahead of the crucial game, the team has strengthened their offensive lineup by acquiring former Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz.

Lions sign veteran TE Zach Ertz for practice squad

The Lions have made a strategic move by signing Zach Ertz to their practice squad on Monday. This decision brings a seasoned player with a wealth of experience to bolster the team’s depth. He is slated to start the week on the practice squad. If his performance meets expectations, he might be elevated to the active roster against the 49ers.

One interesting aspect of this signing is the three-time Pro Bowler’s existing rapport with Lions tight ends coach Steve Heiden. Having previously worked together with the Cardinals, Heiden’s familiarity with his skills and style of play could contribute significantly to the Lions’ offensive strategies.

The 2023 season saw Zach Ertz in action for seven games with the Cardinals, where he unfortunately sustained a quad injury in Week 7. Following this setback, he sought a release from the team in late November.

As a free agent since then, the veteran becomes an opportune addition for the Lions seeking to strengthen their roster as they vie for a shot at the championship. Ahead of his short tenure with the Cardinals, he played nine years for the Philadelphia Eagles.

What role will Zach Ertz play in the Lions?

In the wake of recent setbacks to their tight end lineup, the Lions have turned to Zach Ertz to bolster their offense. With injuries sidelining key players like James Mitchell and Brock Wright, he steps into a crucial backup role.

The veteran’s legacy as one of the NFL’s premier TE’s is firmly established, highlighted by three consecutive Pro Bowl selections. During those periods, he amassed an impressive 2,903 yards on 278 catches, averaging 10.4 yards per reception, and notching 22 touchdowns. The pinnacle of his career saw him set an NFL record for single-season receptions by a TE, securing 116 catches in 2018.

The offensive weapon holds Philly’s franchise record for receptions in a single game, hauling in 15 catches in a memorable 2014 performance. Even in the 2021 season with the Cardinals, he maintained his productivity by finishing as the team’s third highest in receiving yards.

Zach Ertz’s consistent performance this season, marked by at least two receptions in every game played, highlights his reliability. Despite playing only seven games for the Cardinals this season, he made a significant impact. The TE’s performance was standout in the Week 4 game against the San Francisco 49ers, where he hauled in six passes for 53 yards. His proven ability to contribute in crucial moments will surely be a plus point for the Lions.

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