The Eagles face an interesting situation at quarterback heading into the offseason. The Lombardi trophy has a new home, but quarterbacks defending its honor next year are subject to change. The one name who of course is a mainstay is Carson Wentz, but anything beyond that is a mystery.
The story of Nick Foles is a remarkable one. From almost quitting Football after a torrid time with the Rams, Foles eventually found his way back to the team that drafted him and was able to string together one of the most incredible playoff runs in Nfl history, ending in a duel with Tom Brady in the Super Bowl that many now regard as one of the most iconic performances in franchise history. Teams will undoubtedly be interested in Nick Foles and his play that reflected that stunning 27-2 2013 campaign, but will the Eagles be willing to part ways?
That may all come down to an unlikely candidate, Nate Sudfeld. Doug Pederson has consistently referenced the grooming of of a project quarterback since his arrival in Philadelphia and when the Birds’ poached Sudfeld from the Redskins practice squad early in the season, it seemed as if they had their answer.
Sudfeld would spend a year learning under Carson Wentz and Nick Foles before finally seeing his first NFL experience in a week 17 loss to the Cowboys. The Eagles backups may not have been able to score any points against the Dallas starters, but there was plenty of promise in Sudfeld’s debut.
“I thought he played pretty good.” Head Coach Doug Pederson told reporters after the game. “He was able to move the team. Without watching the tape tomorrow and getting in here and checking it out, there were probably a couple decisions that we would like to fix or he would have back. But I thought, overall, he did a pretty good job with really just coming to us new at the end of camp there. Again, did some nice things outside of maybe one, two, or three decisions during the game.”
What stood out more than anything perhaps, was Sudfeld’s own account of the 19-23, 134 yard outing.
“…I felt like there were some plays that we weren’t able to finish.” Sudfeld said. “I felt like I took two sacks that I shouldn’t have. Overall, you want to actually get points and finish drives, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. But I still feel like it was all there, we just kind of didn’t play to our best.”
To have that kind of accountability in a week 17 game with no meaning is an exceptional trait and while the team may have lost John DeFilippo to a promotion, but development at the quarterback position has still proven to be something the team prioritize, even after the emphatic MVP level season enjoyed by Carson Wentz.
The Eagles chose Press Taylor to replace ‘Flip’ and with good reason. In his first season with the Eagles (2016), he worked with Carson Wentz as an assistant QB coach alongside DeFilippo. The Eagles have trust and familiarity in Taylor, as do their quarterbacks. During that time, he helped Wentz set an all-time NFL rookie record 379 completions.
Taylor is also a former quarterback, a trait that Pederson adores in his coaching staff. He led Butler Community College where he led the team to two JUCO championships.
The Eagles are obviously high on Sudfeld and with a further focus on quarterback development, there’s no reason to believe that he wouldn’t be ready to be called upon when the time is right, especially after the promise showed in college.
It’s unclear whether or not the Eagles will move on from Nick Foles, but if they’re willing to place all their chips on the shoulders of the former Indiana quarterback, then it will certainly guide Howie Roseman’s fingers closer to the trigger. As things stand, the Eagles have all the pieces in place to build for a future both with and without Nick Folean dynamite, but are the team ready to call on Sudfeld with the season on the line?
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports