Sud­feld gets call as Birds go with Plan C

The Review - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

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

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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.

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