If you don’t want to buy into the Nate Sudfeld hype after just one good preseason performance, that’s certainly understandable.
So just to make sure we’re on the same page, I’m not either. I’m not saying he’ll ever be a great quarterback or a starter or even a good backup in the NFL.
But after watching him against New England on Thursday night, I am ready to say this guy can toss some dimes.
He did it all night against the Patriots.
I don’t care if it’s preseason and I don’t care if there are high school kids out there on defense, it doesn’t change the fact that some of his throws Thursday were simply impressive. I’m not too surprised by it; he’s shown that ability in practice. But what we’ve also seen from Suds in practice is inconsistency. It looked like he was able to get into a rhythm Thursday.
Let’s take a look at some of his throws (we’ll go in chronological order) that impressed me from the other night:
This first one came on Sudfeld’s second drive (second quarter). It’s been interesting watching him this summer. Sometimes it seems like moving around in the pocket gets him going. On this one, it was the opposite. Wendell Smallwood picked up the blitz to buy some time, but Sudfeld couldn’t step into the throw. He was forced to throw off his back foot but showed the arm strength to get the ball downfield.
Suds sees the blitz and recognizes the 1-on-1 down the sideline. DeAndre Carter was basically tackled early for DPI, but it looked like he had a step on the defender and the throw was going to be right there.
Sudfeld normally looks pretty good throwing on the run. You could argue this pass was a little underthrown, but it was still put in a good spot for Kamar Aiken in the end zone. Keion Crossen, No. 35, seemed determined to just never let a receiver catch a ball against him again. Another clear DPI.
A few plays later, Sudfeld hit Shelton Gibson for the first touchdown of the day. We’re going to skip that one, because Gibson’s route was so great, all Suds had to do was loft it up.
This one came with just 52 seconds left in the first half. Really good experience for Sudfeld in the two-minute offense. The Patriots are using a deep zone, trying to prevent a huge play, but Sudfeld hits Goedert perfectly in stride over a trailing Patrick Chung for 28 yards. Hitting Goedert in stride is huge here because it allows Goedert’s momentum to help get him out of bounds and stop the clock.
Just two plays later, Sudfeld hits Carter in perfect stride. Poor Crossen didn’t have a very good night. But even with Sudfeld’s double-pump and without him stepping into it, he has plenty of arm and hits Carter in stride. Again, that helped stop the clock.
Those two throws got the Eagles down inside the 10-yard line with 30 seconds left. The Eagles didn’t score, so Sudfeld gets some of the blame, especially after a weird shovel pass on the fourth down play. But that experience of moving a team down the field in 52 seconds is very valuable.
We lumped those two together because they happened the same way in a game. First, Sudfeld tried Goedert in that corner of the end zone and then on the next, he came back to Richard Rodgers for the touchdown. Good idea by Doug Pederson to pretty much run the same thing again.
On that second one, watch Sudfeld throw that ball off his back foot. That’s impressive arm strength. That’s a few times now we’ve seen him show off that arm without stepping into a throw.
I love this one. The Eagles are backed up on their own 2-yard line but they’re coming out firing. Watch Sudfeld look off the safety and then drop a perfect pass in there. Bread basket.
The touchdown to Rashard Davis was just pretty. Nice clean pocket and Sudfeld picked apart the defense. There wasn’t a ton of room for error there between two defenders and near the sideline, but it’s a perfect pass.
There were a bunch of perfect passes from Sudfeld on Thursday night. I know it was just one preseason game, and that’s why we’re not getting carried away.
But … feel free to at least be a little intrigued. This guy is probably the backup of the future and fans should feel better about that today than they did this time last week.