When Zach Ertz started having trouble catching passes near the end of the preseason an unwelcome feeling returned.

One spring during his Stanford tenure Ertz had become so consumed by a couple of drops that a few weeks went by before he felt right.

“Usually it gets worse before it gets better” the Eagles’ rookie tight end said “Luckily for me the worst has been behind me and I’m ready to move on.”

His most recent funk occurred after coach Chip Kelly closed the majority of his practices to the media following the Aug. 16 preseason game against Carolina.

Up until then Ertz had looked fairly impressive at camp steadily climbing up the depth chart and only occasionally letting a good throw slip between his hands.

Ertz on Monday against the Redskins took another step forward in limited action. He caught just one pass -- an 11-yarder late in the first half -- but played 24 snaps the most snaps of any offensive reserve.

He was targeted twice inside the Washington 20-yard line on the Eagles’ second drive but Mike Vick’s third-down toss went incomplete after it bounced off Ertz’s hands. Redskins corner E.J. Biggers happened to be draped around his neck but the referees kept their flags concealed.

“[Eagles coaches] kind of thought it was pass interference” Ertz recalled “but at the end of the day I still have to catch the ball.”

That he played so many downs and caught just one pass illustrated the rookie’s development as a blocker the element of his game that needed the most work.