Sudfeld Injury Stalls the Eagles Backup QB’s Development

Sudfeld Injury Stalls the Eagles Backup QB’s Development
The growing discontent with preseason NFL games grew in Philadelphia after backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld suffered a broken left wrist in the Eagles opening 27-10 loss to the visiting Tennessee Titans.
 
With Nick Foles having signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent, Sudfeld is considered the top candidate to be the Eagles backup to Carson Wentz.
 
While Wentz, if healthy remains an MVP candidate, the fact remains that he suffered late-season injuries each of the past two seasons that kept him out of the postseason.
 
As Eagles fans know, Foles led the Birds to the Super Bowl championship following the 2017 regular season and last season guided the Eagles to a playoff win at Chicago before losing a 20-14 heartbreaker at New Orleans.
 
The 6-foot-6, 227-pound Sudfeld has limited NFL experience. Originally drafted in the sixth round out by the Washington Redskins out of Indiana, he joined the Eagles in 2017. That season he was the third stringer and made one start, in a meaningless loss to Dallas in the regular season finale.
 
Sudfeld was also the backup to Foles in the Super Bowl, but he wasn’t needed to play.
 
Last season he appeared in two games and completed his only pass for a touchdown to Nelson Agholor in the regular season finale at Washington.
 
With Foles gone, and Wentz’s injury history, the backup job was and still is Sudfeld’s for the taking. The Eagles also signed former Cleveland Brown and Jacksonville Jaguar Cody Kessler and drafted Clayton Thorson in the fifth round of this past draft out of Northwestern.
 
In the Eagles opener, Sudfeld showed great progress. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 177 yards and a TD, a 75-yard strike to Marken Michel.
 
Again, while nobody should get carried away with preseason performances, especially in the opening game, Sudfeld threw no interceptions and had an impressive 107.9 passer rating.
 
If there is any silver lining to the injury, it is that it occurred to Sudfeld’s non-throwing (left) wrist. The Eagles say he is expected to be out six weeks. At this point, they say they aren’t going to look for another quarterback, although that is a situation that remains fluid.
 
Kessler hasn’t enjoyed a strong camp and was underwhelming in the preseason opener (3 for 6 passing, 12 yards).
 
Thorson had the roughest of debuts, finishing with a 0.0 passer rating.
 
At this point it appears the Eagles will have Kessler fill the backup role until Sudfeld returns. The Eagles have been grooming Sudfeld since his arrival.
 
The backup quarterback situation is not a strong one throughout the NFL. It’s the toughest position to play in all of sports and if a team has one standout, as the Eagles do with Wentz, they should consider themselves fortunate.
 
Still, Sudfeld has a big arm and one could see the growing confidence he was gaining in the preseason opener.
 
If the injury heals as expected, it is not supposed to be a major setback for the Eagles, but one of the biggest problems is that Sudfeld is losing valuable preseason reps.
 
And once he returns to health, Sudfeld should assume the all-important Eagles backup quarterback role.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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