Training Camp is always an exciting time. As battles across the roster begin to unfold and pressure starts to mount, Football fever gets stronger and stronger. One of the most unique positional battles on any NFL roster is the one at quarterback, mainly because with only one starter, changing the status quo can be challenging. However, that’s exactly what Nate Sudfeld will be aiming to do next week.
An established starter, a savvy veteran and and a project arm. That seems to be the quarterbacking template for most NFL teams and it has been for Doug Pederson, who has consistently expressed a desire to find a developmental talent at the position since joining Philadelphia in 2016. This year though, things will be a little different.
Carson Wentz is rehabbing a torn ACL and Nick Foles will take most of the starting reps as a result. The knock-on effect here is that the Super Bowl MVP has expressed an intent to become a starter once again in the NFL and who could blame him? The Eagles admirably reworked his contract to reward him for his heroic efforts, but there’s no questioning that such a miraculous playoff run is deserving of at least a fight to earn a starting role elsewhere, something he may not get again in Philadelphia. As a result, Foles will be doing all he can to potentially audition for a starting role elsewhere, or help increase his trade value going into next year. There’s a good chance he will be leading the Eagles offense out onto the field in week one, so a strong Training Camp is vital.
The butterfly effect works its way down to Sudfeld as well though. The former Indiana quarterback will have a shot at taking QB2 reps this Summer and will see an extensive amount of preseason snaps. This is huge for Sudfeld, who joined the Eagles just under a year ago and made his NFL debut in week 17 against the Cowboys, a game in which although his offense was kept out of the endzone, he was still able to impress.
“I thought he played pretty good. He was able to move the team.” Doug Pederson told reporters after the game. “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.
If Sudfeld can shine this Summer, it bodes very, very well for him. If Nick Foles does depart to rekindle a starting fire at the end of the season, it means that the QB2 spot behind Carson Wentz would be his for the taking. After all, that is exactly why Pederson has been so insistent on developing a third arm for so long, because as we’ve all come to learn, you can never put a price on the value of a reliable backup.
If you then sprinkle in a little bit of outside pressure from one Joe Callahan, who has been breathing down Sudfeld’s neck since OTA’s, it’s not hard to predict a Summer Breakout. The former sixth round pick stole the spotlight at OTA’s, dueling with the former Packers Signal-Caller and very much building on what we saw in week 17, drawing the praise of his Head Coach in the process.
“Nate’s having a tremendous off-season right now, a tremendous spring.” Pederson said. “He’s doing a nice job as well.”
If Sudfeld can hit the ground running and take command of the second unit next week before flourishing in preseason, benefitting from a full season and offseason in Pederson’s system, then the sky really could be the limit. The window of opportunity has never been greater for a quarterback who was poached from Washington’s practice squad last year and if he can seize the moment, his path to a long-term NFL career may only just be beginning.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports