Arizona Cardinals patiently waiting for Zach Ertz to step up his game

The torn ACL that the Arizona Cardinals tight end suffered a year ago is having a negative effect on the 32-year-old's performance.
Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

When Zach Ertz arrived in the desert back in 2021, the Arizona Cardinals were rolling. The well-respected tight end was joining a squad that was off to a 5-0 start. Ertz turned out to be an outstanding addition, hauling in an impressive 56 passes for 574 yards and three touchdowns in just 11 starts for the Cards.

Now, almost two years later, Ertz is struggling to return from the devastating knee injury he suffered back in November of 2022. Through four games, the three-time Pro Bowler has totaled 20 receptions for just 136 yards and zero scores. It's obvious that Ertz is still recovering from the torn ACL, but his mediocre play has been far from beneficial to the Arizona offense.

During an opening-day loss to the Washington Commanders, Ertz dropped what could've been a scoring pass from quarterback Josh Dobbs in the first quarter. The ball certainly had some mustard on it, but it was a play that the normally reliable Ertz has made countless times in the past. As it turned out, it was the closest that the Cardinals scoring attack would get to registering a touchdown during the disappointing 20-16 defeat.

Zach Ertz turned in what was ultimately a disappointing performance for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4

That exact scenario repeated itself for Ertz during last Sunday's 35-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. During a meaningless drive in the final quarter, the 32-year-old once again whiffed on another Dobbs throw that was right on the money. A connection between the pair would've resulted in six points for the Redbirds, but Ertz allowed the football to go right through his hands.

Ertz's numbers actually didn't look too bad when the matchup with the Niners came to an end. The 6 foot 5, 250 pounder was credited with a respectable six catches for 53 yards. Unfortunately, 41 of those yards came on the Cards' final drive, when San Francisco's ultra-soft prevent defense allowed Ertz and his teammates to move down the field with very little resistance.

Arizona's coaching staff could elect to show more patience with Ertz than they would with many other players. Head coach Jonathan Gannon has ties to the California native that go back to the time they spent together with the Philadelphia Eagles back in '21. Ertz will likely be given every chance possible to revert back to the valuable pass-catcher that the Cardinals traded for just two years ago.


(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference and