The Detroit Lions made a notable move to sign veteran tight end Zach Ertz to their practice squad this week, with the idea they could elevate him to the active roster for Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the 49ers. That move had until 4 p.m. ET on Saturday to be announced.
But that move will apparently not be happening. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Lions will not be activating Ertz for Sunday's game.
The #Lions are not activating Zach Ertz off the practice squad for Sunday’s NFC title game, per source. Ertz worked hard all week to get ready but team will hold him out.
When talking about the signing of Ertz, Lions head coach Dan Campbell made it clear it was not a guaranteed to be activated this week.
"Look, he just got here," Campbell said of Ertz. "I know he’s in shape. I talked to him the other day. He understands we’re just going to gauge this and see where we’re at, so he’ll be out here (for Wednesday's walk-through)....."there’s things that he does well and it’s just a matter is this the week to use him?"
What was the point of the Lions signing Zach Ertz?
Yes, the Lions had a need for a healthy tight end and Ertz stood above the crowd among available options. And there's a possibility the look they get at him now sets the stage to keep him around in the offseason.
It's also true the Lions couldn't know if Ertz was in playing shape until he arrived. Then it became a lighter practice week, with only a walkthrough on Wednesday. On Friday Fowler reported Ertz told him he has had the whole Lions' playbook "thrown" at him, and quarterback Jared Goff said Ertz had picked up the offense "extremely fast."
It's not like Ertz was going to play a ton on Sunday anyway, since has not played a game since October. But for 5-10 snaps, he couldn't have been helpful?
Erik Schlitt of Pride of Detroit offered a viable explanation for Ertz not being elevated. A simple numbers game for practice squad elevations, with Ertz not playing offensive line or special teams.