In a strategic move, the Detroit Lions have opted to delay tight end Zach Ertz’s debut for the team in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. Despite signing with the Lions just five days ago, Ertz won’t be activated from the practice squad for the pivotal matchup.
Ertz, who began the season with the Cardinals, suffered a quad injury on October 23 and was subsequently placed on injured reserve. Released by the Cardinals on November 30, the Super Bowl-winning tight end with the Eagles in 2017-18 had 27 receptions, 187 yards, and a touchdown this season.
While Lions quarterback Jared Goff praised Ertz’s rapid adaptation to the team and expressed that the 33-year-old tight end could potentially play against the 49ers, the decision to hold off on activating him suggests a strategic approach by the Lions.
The Lions have rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, who has been a significant contributor with 86 receptions for 889 yards this season. With LaPorta recovering from a knee injury sustained in the regular-season finale and subsequently removed from the injury report, the urgency to add Ertz to the active roster for the NFC Championship Game diminished.
Even though Ertz won’t be on the field for the championship matchup, his presence and experience, especially as a Super Bowl winner, have already made a positive impact on the young Lions. Goff emphasized the value of having someone with Ertz’s background in a winning team on the field every day, providing a valuable perspective to the emerging Lions squad.
As the Lions aim for victory on Sunday and potentially advance to the Super Bowl, the decision to delay Ertz’s debut could be a strategic move to maximize his impact in a potential championship showdown.