We’re a little under two weeks away from the start of an Eagles training camp that promises to be very different to what we’ve come to know. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to watch. Here’s everything you need to know about the quarterback position as the team prepares to return to the practice field.
For the king of the castle, the motive this training camp is simple – get familiar with your new weapons. Carson Wentz has already taken measures to do this, working out with several of the team’s young receivers back in June, including prized rookie Jalen Reagor. With no OTA’s and a camp that will likely look very different to how it usually does, every rep is even more valuable than usual.
There are a lot of new toys for Carson Wentz to play with and even though Wentz is clearly the face of the franchise, and there’s no pressure on that front, this Summer has to be one where he comes flying out of the gate and elevates his teammates.
It’s tough to quantify leadership and what we want to see from Wentz, but if there is a safe way for him and his new receivers to get reps in after a practice finishes, that would be a really positive sign.
Outside of that, it’s important for Wentz to shake off as much rust as possible knowing that there are only two preseason games and Pederson won’t want to risk him for many snaps at all.
The new kid on the block
This is where the fun begins. There is so much speculation around how the Eagles will use Jalen Hurts and when examining the new-look coaching tree, it’s not hard to see why. However, it’s unlikely that the Eagles would work on some of those funky 2-QB sets in Training Camp for
all some to see.
There’s simply not enough time to get funky and show off for those in attendance. Hurts has one job and one job only – catch up and surpass Nate Sudfeld as the current QB2.
Hurts should be judged as a quarterback this Summer, nothing more, nothing less. Despite the offseason being virtual up to this point, Head Coach Doug Pederson was quick to sing the praises of his second-round pick in anticipation for what he can do on a practice field.
…But his growth from a mental standpoint from the beginning of the off-season to now has been very good. His ability to recall plays and recite plays and put them — one thing Press Taylor has done is put him into a huddle situation where he’s calling plays and being able to just spit that back to him. He’s done that at a really good, high level and now it’s just a matter of once we get him on the grass, he has to do it for real and go from there. But I’ve been really impressed with his progress this spring.
There is certainly a lot of intrigue around the former Sooners QB who had 1,295 rushing yards to his name last lear, and considering he’s already gotten to know Quez Watkins throughout the pre-draft process and beyond, it’s fun to imagine the growing chemistry if they’re grouped together over the next few weeks.
This will be a good grading scale for Hurts. Sudfeld may not be the most electric quarterback of all time, but he’s been in the system since the beginning of the 2017 season and should know the playbook like the back of his hand by now, giving him a clear mental advantage over the more technically gifted talent. The question is, just how quickly can Hurts catch up?
Living on the edge
Talking of Nate Sudfeld, he’s on a very short leash. It was a surprise to see him brought back for another year at this point. Whenever he’s seen live-action, he’s simply handed the ball off or been given very simple plays. Compare this to Josh McCown, who somehow snatched the QB2 job from him and was running around like Carson Wentz against the Seahawks, and Nick Foles, who as we all know, was given total freedom in a condensed offense.
Sudfeld looked sloppy last offseason before the injury and after he recovered, the role of QB2 was no longer his. With the Eagles drafting a QB in the second round, there is a lot of pressure on Sudfeld to actually step up and turn heads this offseason. To use his addition as fuel, become a vocal leader on the practice field, and impress with consistency and aggression.
It may be that Sudfeld has hit his ceiling in this offense and that’s absolutely fine, but the QB factory waits for no man. Making life even worse is the fact that he’s got another quarterback breathing down his neck.
Picking up speed
The second quarterback ensuring Sudfeld struggles to sleep at night is former fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta. Now 25-years-old, the former Richmond Spider signed with the Eagles just days after he was shockingly cut from the New York Giants. He was handed the second-highest deal of any UDFA, showing a real sign of investment from the Eagles.
It’s easy to see why the Eagles liked Lauletta. At 6’3, 217 lbs, he has the size and smarts needed to thrive in Pederson’s scheme. He didn’t flash a cannon-like arm, but an ability to read defenses quickly and deliver precise passes in the shorter areas of the field, leading his receivers to open space.
After some off-the-field distractions, the drafting of Daniel Jones and a heroic comeback in week 4 of preseason one year later, Lauletta ended up with the Eagles following his surprise dismissal.
It’s clear that Lauletta has talent and he should be able to give Sudfeld a real run for his money this offseason. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see him displace Sudfeld as QB3 if he can build a rapport with his receivers early and outshine his teammate.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports