One benefit of Carson Wentz not being a full participant in OTAs is the Eagles can take a long, hard look at Nate Sudfeld.
That won’t put a lot of minds at ease as far as Wentz’s recovery is concerned, but the extra work for Sudfeld in the meantime could prove valuable.
“I’m excited,” Sudfeld said following Tuesday’s practice. “Excited to get quite a bit of reps and continue to play in this offense and get live reps in it, because other than actually playing in the games, I didn’t get many reps in the offense last year.
“Actually going through reads and making the decisions, putting the ball where it needs to be, it’s a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it.”
It’s easy to forget just how little the Eagles know about their 24-year-old signal caller. A sixth-round draft pick out of Indiana, Sudfeld joined the team last September after spending his rookie season with Washington. He wasn’t around for OTAs or training camp, and once the NFL season starts, backup quarterbacks get next to no work at practice.
Outside of an extended relief appearance in a meaningless Week 17 tilt with the Dallas Cowboys — a glorified preseason game — Sudfeld had hardly taken a snap in the Eagles’ offense.
That’s all going to change beginning with OTAs.
“What I got in season was invaluable, but this is great,” Sudfeld said. “In our offense, able to be coached without coaches working on game plans every week, it’s been really good.”
Sudfeld is still No. 2 on the depth chart behind Nick Foles while Wentz continues to rehab, but it’s a step up. There’s plenty of snaps to go around this time of year, plus he’s practicing with better talent on the second-team offense.
The Eagles may choose to manage Foles’ workload as well, which would mean even more work for Sudfeld this spring.
“I just show up and I do what they tell me to do,” Sudfeld said. “I don’t try to peek out how many reps I’m getting for the day. I know I need to come ready to play.
“If you’re trying to read scripts, that’s not playing the game, because when you’re playing the game, you do what coach calls in the headset. I’m just coming to work excited to practice every day and work on my craft.”
This is an important opportunity for Sudfeld. The Eagles really like this kid.
When the Colts tried to pluck Sudfeld from the Eagles’ practice squad last November, the team added him to the 53-man roster, opting to carry three quarterbacks for a time. Even after the injury to Wentz, with the playoffs on the horizon, he was kept in place as Foles’ backup despite the lack of any NFL experience whatsoever.
Sudfeld provided a glimpse into what the Eagles might’ve seen in Week 17, completing 19 of 23 passes in the first game of his pro career. His performance against Dallas was enough to create some intrigue.
“If I just keep stacking good practices together, I think good things will happen,” Sudfeld said.
“My goal is to become the best player I can be, to be too good to not have a chance somewhere down the road. Whether it’s sooner or later, obviously I’m a competitor and I want to play.”
Sudfeld is getting a chance of sorts now. Should he progress, these workouts will put him one step closer toward accomplishing his goal.