Zach Ertz has been processing the Cardinals' playbook, his place in it, and the best ways to fit in Kliff Kingsbury's high-powered offense.
Heading into game No.6 Sunday as a member of the Cardinals, following his trade from Philadelphia earlier in the season, Ertz has begun to settle within the scheme.
"I feel good," Ertz said. "There is not a lot of thinking anymore, just playing fast. I feel extremely confident and comfortable in this offense now. A couple of weeks ago, it was still a process. But right now, I feel comfortable as I did in my old offense."
That is nothing but good news for Cardinals fans, given Ertz's level of production during his eight-year Eagles tenure. Now, Ertz is displaying it with the Cardinals. Ertz has 12 catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. The tight end has also registered at least 11 yards per catch in those games.
Ertz says Kliff Kingsbury's offensive design is fun on its own, although it helps to play alongside a diverse wideout group, including DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk. The addition of Ertz is just icing on the cake.
"There is a lot of space in the middle of the field," Ertz said. "Obviously, it's because of (Kingsbury's) play designs and the guys and weapons we have on the outside. So, it's a lot of fun to be able to catch the ball and run after the catch. I've been extremely fortunate to be here."
Besides the opportunity to keep the No.1 seed in the NFC with a victory Sunday, Ertz looks forward to the expected returns of Hopkins and Kyler Murray. Both have missed the previous three games because of injuries.
"I'm excited," Ertz said. "Those two guys are one of the real reasons I wanted to play here. I've had so much respect for those two for a long time, especially D-Hop (Hopkins) because we were in the same draft class. So, we always kind of kept in touch from afar. But I'm excited to have all of our pieces back healthy."
Giard Justin Pugh (calf) did not practice for a second straight day for the Cardinals, and safety James Wiggins (knee) was downgraded to DNP himself. Murray (ankle) and Hopkins (hamstring) remained limited.
For the Bears, defensive end Mario Edwards (ribs), wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot/ribs), defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle), wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring), linebacker Roquan Smith (hamstring) amd running back Damien Williams (calf) didn't practice. Tight end Cole Kmet (groin) and quarterback Justin Fields (ribs) were limited.