Eagles

QB Nate Sudfeld makes 'very tough call' to join Eagles, leave Redskins

QB Nate Sudfeld makes 'very tough call' to join Eagles, leave Redskins

After the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz last year, they messaged some of the other quarterbacks in the 2016 draft and wished them luck.

One of those guys was Nate Sudfeld.

“I had a formal interview (with the Eagles) at the combine and I got to know Coach (Frank) Reich and (quarterbacks coach John) DeFilippo ... Coach Flip ... I still can’t pronounce his name very well," Sudfeld said.

"Got to know them pretty well in the draft process. Obviously they drafted Carson, but they still texted me and said, 'Hey good luck, you’re going to have a great career.' They always kind of seemed to be interested and have my back."

They're still interested. 

The Eagles snatched Sudfeld from the Redskins on Sunday, signing him to their practice squad a day after the Redskins released him and then tried to re-sign him to their practice squad.

Sudfeld spent all of last year on the Redskins' active roster and expected to be back in Washington this year. But when the Redskins cut him, Sudfeld had to re-think everything.

"It was a very tough call," he said. "Honestly, it was really sad leaving someplace where you make so many friendships and relationships. I love the coaches, I love everyone there. I just talked to my agent, talked to my family (and) just felt like this was the best decision for myself and really excited for the opportunity.

"It's tough because I have nothing but love for everyone over there. It’s just sad always to move on. It’s still pretty fresh. The equipment guys, the chefs, the lady at the front desk, everything like that. It’s really tough. 

"Being there all last year on the roster. I really love my time there and really appreciative of my time there."

So why is he here?

Sudfeld clearly believes he has a better opportunity to develop behind Wentz and Nick Foles and under this coaching staff than behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy in Washington.

"I just felt like some new scenery and a different thing was the right thing at the right time," he said.

"It's a great spot for me to develop and continue to get reps and improve as a player. I'm trying to have a long career in the NFL. Everybody wants to play — as a quarterback especially — till their late 30s. 

"I'm trying not to get too overwhelmed with the 'now,' because I'm a 23-year-old guy. I was one of the youngest guys on the Redskins team, and I just have to do what’s right for me at the time and not be selfish or look into the future. Just what’s going to make me the best quarterback in the long run."

Sudfeld, a sixth-round pick out of Indiana last year, played well both last year and this year in the preseason. 

He combined to complete 61 of 109 passes (56 percent) for 598 yards with three TDs and no interceptions in six preseason games over the last two summers. 

And he did not expect to be released.

"Honestly, I was a little surprised," he said. "But I don’t want to say I didn’t go (back) there because it was ill will or anything. But I was a little surprised. But it is what it is. It’s a business. More and more teams are going with two quarterbacks.

"When they released me they said this was no indictment of you, we don't think any less of you, we just have some needs on defense, whatever that means. 

"I don't know. Who knows. It's a crazy league. Who knows how everything shakes out in a year or 10 years if I'm playing that long. I don't feel like any bridges are burned or anything. I still have a lot of love for everyone over there."

Obviously, the Eagles face Sudfeld's former team in five days in the season opener at FedEx Field.

Could the Eagles have acquired Sudfeld to pick his brain about the Redskins' offense?

"I think that's overrated," he said. "I haven’t really talked to anybody about the Redskins."

Then he paused and said, "Yet."

Nick Foles may not have full protection vs. Giants

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Nick Foles may not have full protection vs. Giants

The Eagles will have a new quarterback this weekend, but they might not be able to protect him as well as they hope. 

Starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski will officially be listed as questionable for Sunday's game because of an ankle injury. 

Wiz had to leave the Rams game in the first half and did not return. He missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday. 

"We'll see where he's at today," head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday. 

After Wisniewski came out of the Rams game, he was replaced by Chance Warmack, who was then replaced by Isaac Seumalo. 

It sounds like Warmack will have the first chance to play this weekend if Wisniewski can't go. 

"We've worked Chance at that position this week," Pederson said. "Isaac has obviously gotten some reps really at all the positions but that would be the most logical."

Seumalo actually began the season as the team's starting left guard after he won the position in the offseason. From there, Warmack got the first crack at replacing him when he was benched, but Warmack couldn't keep the job, eventually giving way to a rotation before Wisniewski simply took over. The line has been much better since Wiz took over the starting job in Week 3. 

Alshon Jeffery and Steven Means, who both missed Thursday's practice with illnesses, will be back on the practice field on Friday. Both should be fine for this weekend's game. 

The Eagles will practice outside in 28-degree weather on Friday as they prepare for Sunday's outdoor game at MetLife Stadium. 

No word on the condition of the recycling can Jason Kelce kicked inside the bubble after getting cleated on Thursday. At least the outdoor practice will give it another day of rest. 

Lucky for Nick Foles, his go-to guy is back

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USA Today Images

Lucky for Nick Foles, his go-to guy is back

Nick Foles won't see many familiar faces when he makes his first start for the Eagles in over three years, but at least one of his go-to receivers is still around.

Foles hasn't been in the lineup for a week, and the Eagles quarterback is already getting reinforcements. Zach Ertz cleared the concussion protocol on Wednesday and is expected to play against the Giants on Sunday, adding a valuable weapon to the offense, and reuniting a dynamic duo in the process.

"I feel good, ready to go," Ertz said Wednesday following his first practice back. "Tough week last week obviously not being able to play, but it was the right decision at the time and I'm excited for this week."

Ertz was a rookie when Foles took over as the starting quarterback in 2013, posting a modest 36 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns. Yet Ertz really only began to flourish once the job belonged to Foles permanently.

The fifth-year tight end — perhaps on his way to his first Pro Bowl this season — even caught his first NFL touchdown from Foles.

"That was a long time ago, against the Raiders when he was fricking throwing everyone touchdowns," Ertz said this week. "We had a lot of good games together."

Their connection was almost instantaneous. At the time, Brent Celek was still the starter at tight end and getting the bulk of the snaps. Ertz still managed to catch five touchdowns in the Eagles' remaining nine games, including one against in the Saints in the playoffs. Ertz had five or more receptions three times during that span.

"That's my first year in the league, his second year in the league," Ertz said. "He was playing at an unbelievable level. He's still the same quarterback, and we're excited to have him."

Their rapport continued into 2014. Ertz had 25 receptions for 358 yards with two touchdowns when Foles was lost for the season with a broken collarbone.

Ertz acknowledged a quarterback change at this stage of the season can be difficult. Clearly, It's not uncharted territory, either. Even when Foles finally nailed down the job in '13, it was already Week 9, after weeks of going back and forth with Michael Vick.

It took time for the Eagles to make the right decision under center, but they eventually got it right, and it wound up being a historic season. Foles tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a game against the Raiders, and made NFL history at the end of the season with a 27-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The transition from Carson Wentz to Foles may not go that smoothly, but Ertz has reason to feel confident everything will be fine.

"It's definitely not the easiest thing switching quarterbacks, but there's a lot of familiarity with Nick," Ertz said. "The coaches understand what Nick does well. (Eagles coach Doug Pederson) has been with him for a long time.

"With Nick, he throws such an easy ball to catch that there's not a real adjustment period in terms of catching the ball. Some quarterbacks throw a tough ball to catch, but Nick's ball is really easy to catch and it makes it easy for receivers."

Foles already survived his first relief appearance, and that was without Ertz. With the tight end and security blanket inactive against the Rams, Foles was able to lead the Eagles on two scoring drives that ended with field goals, including the game-winner.

Again, that was sans Ertz. Imagine what Foles might be able to do with one of the Eagles' top receivers.

Ertz has 57 receptions for 663 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He was on pace for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns earlier in the campaign but missed a game for the concussion, and another with a hamstring.

Maybe Ertz can still get there over the final three weeks with Foles at the helm. He certainly isn't afraid to push the ball down the field anyway.

"He loves the slinging the ball," Ertz said. "That's what he's been doing his whole career.

"He's a great quarterback. We're excited to have him. I don't think there's anybody else in this situation that we would rather have."

Either way, Foles-to-Ertz is going to feel like a blast from the past. Maybe that connection can help keep the Eagles rolling in December and through the playoffs.