Kliff Kingsbury said Cardinals ‘were sold’ on new TE Zach Ertz before trade

Oct 15, 2021, 3:06 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm
Tight end Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 after...
Tight end Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 after catching a first quarter touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field on October 14, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

TEMPE — New Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz’s resume speaks for itself.

The former Eagle compiled 38 touchdowns and 6,287 receiving yards on his way to three Pro Bowls over the course of his nine-year career in Philadelphia. His off-the-field reputation was just as glowing.

So when news broke that Ertz was headed to the desert early Friday morning, one thing was made adamantly clear: The Cardinals are all in.

“I think that’s the mentality,” running back James Conner said Friday. “It should be every year. Whoever we got on the field needs to be competing for the ultimate end goal. I think if you ask all 32 teams if they were trying to win, I feel like they should be trying to win now. That’s what we do it for. This game’s not promised.”

When Maxx Williams went down with his season-ending knee injury in Week 5, it wasn’t necessarily a matter of if, but when would Arizona bring in another tight end, either in free agency or via trade. Williams had been putting together one of his best seasons to date, being utilized more and more in an offense filled with capable pass catchers.

Sliding in a complete player like Ertz into that role not only limits the damage Williams’ injury might have on the team long-term, it improves a vaulted Cardinals offense led by quarterback Kyler Murray.

“Excited, have heard nothing but great things about him,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday. “Jordan Hicks and he played together in Philly and (linebackers coach) Billy Davis was there as well. Great person, great player. I think he’ll fit right in with this locker room. Thought (GM) Steve (Keim) did a tremendous job of getting that done.”

And while Williams has graded out better in terms of pass-blocking between the two in 2021 with a 70, Ertz isn’t far behind in the category at 63.5, per Pro Football Focus.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they’ll have to wait until after Week 6 before seeing Ertz in a Cardinals uniform, with the tight end playing in the Eagles’ loss on Thursday night.

From the sounds of it, Ertz will be “ready to roll next Sunday,” according to Kingsbury.

“We all know what type of player he is and … knowing Jordan Hicks and (linebackers coach) Billy Davis, who had been around him and just listening to what they had to say about him, we were sold.”

And as for meshing with his new teammates? That shouldn’t be a problem with how this team is built.

“I know guys on the team are probably excited about it but we’ll see soon enough here what it does to the locker room, but we got a good thing going,” Conner said. “Anybody who hops on this moving train we embrace them, support them and we welcome them with open arms.”

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