Eagles

Nate Sudfeld has an opportunity with the Eagles, and he's showing what he can do

Nate Sudfeld has an opportunity with the Eagles, and he's showing what he can do

FOXBORO, Mass. — All Nate Sudfeld ever wanted was a chance. He didn’t get it in Washington … or “my last place,” as he calls it. He’s getting it now, and he’s opening a lot of eyes.

“I’ve felt valued since I’ve been here,” Sudfeld said.

Sudfeld put on quite a display of quarterbacking Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, completing 22 of 39 passes for 312 yards with three touchdowns and one interception that wasn’t his fault in the Eagles’ 37-20 loss to the Patriots (see breakdown).

“Felt great to play so much,” Sudfeld said. “It was really fun to kind of get into a rhythm and see different looks and bank reps early in the game and act on them later on what you saw, so that part was fun.”

The Eagles have always liked Sudfeld, since stealing him from the Redskins when they tried to sneak him onto the practice squad last summer.

He played well in a late-season appearance against the Cowboys but this summer he’s taken his game to another level.

He made at least five throws Thursday night — several against the Patriots’ 1s — that really made you take notice.

Yeah, it was only the preseason. But when you see a young quarterback play at this level, it definitely catches your attention.

In two preseason appearances, Sudfeld has thrown for 452 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions, two of which weren’t his fault.

His five best throws Thursday:

• He capped his second drive with a short TD pass to Shelton Gibson, leading him perfectly after Gibson lost Jason McCourty.

• Sudfeld found Dallas Goedert in space over the middle for a 28-yard gain late in the second quarter.

• In the third quarter, with the Eagles backed up on their own 2-yard-line, he found Gibson on a go route for a 57-yard gain. J.C. Jackson had solid coverage but Sudfeld led Gibson perfectly, and Gibson made his second big catch in two weeks.

• Also in the third quarter, Sudfeld floated a 17-yard dime to tight end Richard Rodgers for a touchdown.

• Later in the third quarter, he dropped a perfect 31-yard TD to Rashard Davis in the far left end of the end zone with Devin McCourty and Eddie Pleasant in coverage.

“I thought Nate did a great job of going in there and finding a rhythm and really letting the ball fly and show what he’s capable of doing,” said Foles, who left the game with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter.

“I was very proud of Nate. I think just from the point he got here last year when he came from Washington, I think he’s improved like crazy. It’s fun to see him go out there and sling it around a little bit and give us an opportunity to come back.”

It was only a preseason game, and you don’t want to make too much of it, but Sudfeld made throws against solid coverage that you don’t often see from a young, fairly inexperienced third-stringer.

“One of the biggest differences is getting reps,” Sudfeld said. “There weren’t many reps at the last place. It makes sense, I’m not bitter about it or anything. They had two great quarterbacks ahead of me at my last place.

“But just getting reps and being able to make a mistake and come back from it and knowing that you’re going to get opportunities really kind of eases your mind. You know you can go out there and trust what you see and try to make throws, and if you make a mistake show that you can bounce back.”

The only certainty among these Eagles quarterbacks is that when he’s healthy, Wentz will be the starter.

The Eagles could trade Foles, they could trade Sudfeld or they could keep all three. But for now, all three are together, and the Eagles are confident in all three.

“It’s amazing,” Sudfeld said. “I was talking to Nick about it. Take a deep breath and enjoy the room that we have right now because you never know how long it’s going to last.

“Obviously Carson’s unbelievable. Nick also. They’re such different players but they do such great things. I’m very thankful for the situation I’ve been in and try to soak up as much as I can.”

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"He needs to be a double-digit [sacks] guy in order for this defense to really work the way it's supposed to work," according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Barrett Brooks.

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In town Thursday to meet kids at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia, McNabb told me that it’s all happy when he reflects on his time with the Eagles.

“I don’t get involved in the banter outside, the negative or people’s opinions," he said. "It was fulfilling a dream of playing football. And I have four kids of my own who were a part of the run we had here in Philadelphia so it was fun — it was a lot of fun.”

As for this year’s Eagles team, McNabb believes this squad can get to the Super Bowl, and he feels that everything begins and ends with Carson Wentz and his health. But it comes as no surprise that the former quarterback picked the guys who protect Wentz as most important to the Eagles' success outside of the signal caller.

“I think that offensive line has to gel like they were a couple years ago and take pressure off of Carson," McNabb said.

And yes, Philly fans, Five will always love you … and laugh with you. 

“I truly love what the fans have done for me and the support that I’ve had through my career," he said. "Sometimes you have your opinionated fans and that motivates and drives me, to this day. I laughed about it now and I laughed about it then.”

Fans will have a chance to chuckle with McNabb this fall when he’s inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on November 7.

You can watch more of my interview with McNabb above.

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