‘Ask Anybody,’ Eagles Have Confidence in Sudfeld
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - "Ask anybody what kind of practice Nate Sudfeld had last week."
That was Frank Reich's response to questions about whether or not the offensive coordinator is comfortable with an unproven commodity as a backup to now elevated starter Nick Foles, the former caddie to Pro Bowl selection and MVP candidate Carson Wentz.
Wentz going down with a torn ACL in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams was obviously a tough blow for the now 12-2 Eagles but the organization was as well equipped as anyone to handle the loss of a starting QB due to the presence of Foles, a veteran with extensive starting experience and some of it very effective experience.
The domino effect, however, is that Sudfeld, a 6-foot-6 second-year signal caller out of Indiana, is now one play away for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
"I feel very confident and comfortable with Nate," Reich claimed on Tuesday at his weekly press briefing. "... To be honest, Nate was turning heads in practice. Ask anybody what kind of practice Nate Sudfeld had last week. They'll tell you he was turning heads."
Gauntlet thrown and 973espn.com did exactly that with head coach Doug Pederson.
"He had a really good week of practice," Pederson insisted. "He prides himself on getting his work in and getting his work done. I'm comfortable with his being the backup. Last week, I though probably was his bast week and really prior to that was getting a lot of practice reps because Nick was getting those scout-team reps. He stepped in there and a nice job. He continues to work and continues to grow."
You'll probably get an opportunity to see Sudfeld sometime over the final two weeks, perhaps as early as Christmas Day if Green Bay is able to upset Minnesota two days earlier, a scenario that would clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC for Philadelphia.
Whenever that point comes, though, the masses will make their own assessment of Sudfeld.
"Having been around the position a long time and getting a sense for how guys see and think and understand the game and how they process it, seeing them work on the field. I just have a high degree of confidence," Reich said before admitting uncertainty remains.
"Ultimately he hasn't done it in a game, so that part is still to be determined," Reich said. "But as much confidence as you have in a guy. He mentally gets it. Just the way he talks about the game, it's like, Okay, yeah, this is it, he gets it, he talks about it like Carson [Wentz] and Nick [Foles] do. They're all on the same page. It's really comforting. Even though he hasn't done it live and in action in a regular-season game."
WEDNESDAY NOVACARE NOTES:
-Slot cornerback Patrick Robinson remains in the NFL's concussion protocol for now according to Pederson but the extra day of preparation this week could be helpful in getting him back on the field against Oakland. Obviously if the game is not meaningful, though, it's unlikely that Philadelphia will push to get Robinson back on the field.
-Left guard Stefen Wisniewski, who missed the Giants' game with a balky ankle, remains day-to-day according to the coach. Chance Warmack would continue to start in Wiz's absence after a solid performance in North Jersey.
"Chance graded out really well," Reich said Tuesday. "Played well in all aspects. That was good to see. Good for us, good for him and his confidence."
-With the extra day to prepare this week, Pederson tweaked the practice schedule this week, scheduling more walk-throughs in an effort to keep his team fresh after a grueling three-game stretch on the road.
-A day after he was named to his first Pro Bowl, Zach Ertz's wife Julie was voted the 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
"That's a much bigger deal," Ertz told 973espn.com when discussing Julie's honor at the NovaCare Complex.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen