Sudfeld gets call as Birds go with Plan C
PHILADELPHIA » A few weeks into training camp, the Eagles are getting used to Nate Sudfeld, their Plan C at quarterback.
Instead of Sudfeld watching CarsonWentz and Nick Foles, the latter are spending a lot of time watching him as they manage aches and swelling.
Wentz isn’t all the way back from surgery for torn ACL and LCL ligaments in his left knee. He’s banned from11-on-11 drills, contact or otherwise. The Eagles fear Wentz could get rolled in the sea of tired, charging bodies that training camp typically morphs into.
Foles, meanwhile, sat out his second straight practice Monday with what the Eagles are calling upper body soreness. It’s nothing to worry about, per a source. Foles warmed up Sunday evening, and was unlikely to playmore than a series or two in the preseason opener Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Don’t look for Wentz — who hasn’t been cleared for contact — to play in the preseason.
For now, the Eagles are Sudfeld’s team. Unless Foles recovers in a hurry, Sudfeld will start against the Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field. Consider it the first of four auditions unless the Eagles carry three quarterbacks on the roster as they did last year.
“Malcolm said it today in our huddle today,” Sudfeld said of Jenkins, the veteran safety. “Champions have to be champions every day. And if you don’t bring it one day, then you surrender it. Just because we won the Super Bowl last year doesn’tmean we’ll win a single game this year. We have to bring it every day. That goes for us as a team, me, individually, everybody individually. We just have to bring it every day. I look forward to that with the stakes higher.”
Sudfeld’s camp has mirrored that of Foles. That is to say a throw into an unbelievably tight space will be joined by one the quarterback wants to have back. That happens in training camp as players unfamiliar with the offense get thrown into action.
“I never want to throw an interception,” Sudfeld said. “I want to throw a touchdown on every single pass. But that’s not the reality of it. Being around Carson and Nick has been has been awesome just because we talk about the process. It’s never going to be perfect but if you have a bad play it’s only bad if you let it affect you or if you don’t learn from it. I felt like yesterday there were things I’d like to have back but the best thing is I have it on filmand I can learn from it.”
Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh wants to see Sudfeld and the offense put it together Thursday evening.
“Just natural progression,” Groh said. “Just go out there and have command in the huddle. I’d really like to see an efficient operation out of him, and everybody. That goes for everybody. That’s the hope in Week One.”
Sudfeld enjoys huddling with veterans on the first team, calling out the play
and watching them respond.
“It’s a work in progress but it’s definitely fun and interesting with those ones, with those older guys who have been there for a while,” Sudfeld said. “I’m the young cat coming in trying to tell them what to do. It’s fun … it’s awesome. It’s just getting used to personnel, getting used to personalities in the huddle and things like that. I’ve really enjoyed getting a ton of reps with basically every player on our offense.”
Sudfeld is happy to get some street cred from Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson, who at Oklahoma played for Kevin Wilson, who was the head coach at Indiana when Sudfeld was quarterback of the Hoosiers.
“We have a lot of shared stories about that,” Sudfeld said.
Sudfeld said there’s a great vibe in the quarterback room with Foles, Wentz and Joe Callahan, the product of Wesley ( Del.) College.
Though offensive coordinator Frank Reich moved on to be head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo exited to be offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, Groh and Press Taylor, who replaced the duo, have impressed Sudfeld and his teammates.
“And Doug is still installing plays and he calls the plays so there’s kind of been that continuity as well,” Sudfeld said. “I think it ’s gone really smooth.”
Sudfeld got extensive game action playing in the Eagles’ 2017 regular season finale, a 6- 0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Sudfeld completed 19 of 23 attempts for 134 yards and a 90.9 rating.
This year, if the Eagles’ first open practice was any indication, the Linc will be rocking in the preseason. More than 40,000 fans cheered the Eagles’ every move during the practice.
“It was electric,” Foles said. “I mean, there were more fans there then just about every home game in college. It’s so cool just to see how passionate the fans are. We feel an obligation to play well for our fans as well because we know how passionate they are and how much they care for us. I think it’s a good dynamic.”
The Brian Dawkins version of “A Footbal l Life,” presented by the NFL Network, is Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p. m.
Dawkins wore himself out sharing his experience, strength and hope throughout the Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend, concluding with his induction Saturday.
Michael Kingston drills a base hit.