PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Travis Fulgham has opened many eyes over the past two weeks, coming out of nowhere to become a much-needed playmaker for the Philadelphia Eagles. But will that continue Sunday?
“He just attacks each day, ready to learn, ready to get better,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Thursday of the Eagles’ newest offensive weapon.
Fulgham on Sunday erupted for 10 catches, 152 yards, and a score in just his second game with the Birds.
How did it happen?
“He’s always throwing with Carson [Wentz],” Pederson said. “Carson’s grabbing him between periods at practice and working on routes and details of routes and timing of routes and that’s what it takes with everybody.”
The former sixth-round pick of the Detroit Lions has come along at the right time with no DeSean Jackson for the past three weeks, with tight end Zach Ertz struggling and veteran Alshon Jeffrey missing the season to this point. That pleasant surprise is opening eyes.
“He’s been balling. He works hard, he’s got a smoothness to his game that I think that teams are surprised. He gets in and out of his breaks quickly,” Ertz said. “He’s probably faster than people think until they step on the field with him so I’m excited to see him continue to grow.”
Following his touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fulgham showed a little too much emotion — he sort of wishes he hadn’t.
“That’s something I regret. I probably should have kept that touchdown ball,” Fulgham said. “My family was there, mom, dad and my sister, but yeah, I probably should have saved that ball and gave it to them.”
All eyes will be on Fulgham to see if he continues to get the same opportunities this week.
Jackson and Jeffrey have been practicing the past two days, and both could return Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. That could cut into his playing time, but it’s clear he’s earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.
Meanwhile, it’s been a trying season for Ertz. After 88 catches a year ago and a tight end record of 116 two seasons ago, Ertz has just 20 receptions in five games, but he said Thursday the chemistry between he and Wentz is just fine.
“I don’t think it’s one person’s fault. I’m not going to sit here and say Carson’s missing me all the time when there’s times I got to be better,” Ertz said. “Plain and simple. All I can focus on is controlling what I can control.”
Wentz reiterated that he’s not worried about Ertz either.
“He’s a playmaker. Defenses still know that, whether he’s catching 10 balls a game or one,” Wentz said. “Defenses still know he’s a playmaker and he’s someone they have to be aware of. I’m confident that he’ll still get his and as far as the chemistry, I feel good about it.”
Pederson believes there’s a specific reason for the missed connection.
“Carson and Zach, they have to continue to work. I haven’t seen the ball travel as high toward Zach as it is right now. It’s just a little bit of mistiming right now with those two,” Pederson said, “but I know it’s something that they’ll work out and work at and work on each week to get it corrected.”
Despite the struggles, Ertz is falling back on his lessons learned from a Hall of Famer.
“I talked to Tony Gonzalez after my second year,” Ertz said. “He said everyone needs a routine of greatness. Whatever it is, it’s that routine that will keep you consistent, it’s that routine that when things are going well will keep you grounded, it’s that routine that when things are going terrible will allow you to overcome the obstacle.”
Catch Sunday’s Eagles game against the Baltimore Ravens on CBS3 at 1 p.m.