Eagles

Uncanny resemblance: Eagles fans keep mistaking Sudfeld for Foles

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Uncanny resemblance: Eagles fans keep mistaking Sudfeld for Foles

As Nate Sudfeld walked out of the tunnel at StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Sunday afternoon for warmups, the Eagles fans that had congregated near the entrance began to go wild. 

"Nick! Nick! Hey, Nick Foles!"

Sudfeld, with an Eagles cap tucked down tightly on his head, didn't stop walking. The Eagles' practice squad quarterback stared straight ahead, wearing a little smirk on his face and slightly shaking his head. 

"I'm not Nick," he mouthed. 

Honest mistake. It happens all the time. 

Foles is still beloved by many Eagles fans for his magical 27 touchdown, two interception season as well as his seven-touchdown game in 2013. Sudfeld has found that out over the last month because the resemblance between the two is — at times — uncanny. 

They're both tall, lanky white dudes with dirty blonde hair, who have matching mannerisms and personalities. There's not a mirror between their two lockers at the NovaCare Complex but plenty of people think there might as well be. Since Sudfeld arrived in Philly just before the start of the season many of his new teammates have taken to calling him "Nick's little brother" or "Nick 2.0." 

"They look the same, their build is the same, their personality is the same," said Carson Wentz, who shares a quarterback room with the two. "They're very similar. I don't get them mixed up but I do call them little bro and big bro. We noticed it right away."

Wentz might not get Foles and Sudfeld mixed up, but fans are a different story. Sunday in California was not the first time Sudfeld was mistaken for Foles and it will likely not be the last.  

Before the game against the Chiefs in Kansas City a few weeks ago, the same thing happened. Sudfeld was walking onto the field when a group of overzealous fans began to shout Nick's name. 

"It's not me," Sudfeld responded. "They were like 'seven touchdowns! Seven touchdowns!"

That's when Sudfeld began a game of internal tug-of-war. On one hand, he knew darn well he wasn't Nick Foles. But on the other, he didn't want the group of fans to leave Arrowhead Stadium that day thinking, "Nick was a bad guy." 

So Sudfeld did the only thing he could think of. He sauntered over to the group of fans and began signing their memorabilia. ... As Nick Foles. 

"I thought that was pretty funny," said Foles, who found out from Sudfeld later. "I thought that was pretty good."

Inside the locker room, confusion doesn't exist among their teammates. They can all tell them apart; it's not like they're identical twins or anything. Aside from one time where a reporter thought Foles had taken over Sudfeld's locker, there haven't been any cases of mistaken identity. 

There has, however, been plenty of ribbing from teammates. 

When asked which teammate enjoys bringing up their similar looks the most, neither Sudfeld nor Foles took very long to decide. It's the Eagles' longest-tenured player. Brent Celek has seen hundreds of players come and go, but probably never two who looked this similar, including Chase Daniel and Jon Dorenbos.

"Yeah, mostly Celek," Sudfeld said. "He gives me a lot of flack about it."

"Celek," Foles said without hesitation. "Go interview Celek. Celek would be a great interview." 

OK, then. Off to talk to Celek, who took a moment from scrolling through his iPhone while sitting by his locker, to listen to the question before rubbing his eyes and laughing. 

Guilty as charged. 

"All three of us joke around a lot together," Celek said. "They're funny dudes, man. I really like both of them a lot. They both have similar personalities, they look similar. It's just funny."

Celek had heard stories about fans mistaking Sudfeld for Foles but it wasn't until Thursday when he learned Sudfeld once impersonated Foles before a game and even signed a few autographs in character. 

"That's funny," Celek said. "They do look really similar. It's really eerie how similar they look, their mannerisms. And they're like best friends."

That's true too. While Foles is 28 and Sudfeld won't turn 24 until Saturday, the two have become very close over the last month. In fact all three of the Eagles' quarterbacks seem to have a tight relationship. 

Sudfeld first met Foles on the University of Arizona campus in 2011. At the time, Foles was getting ready to enter his senior season as the Wildcats' starting quarterback when a high school junior came into the weight room for a brief chat. While Sudfeld ultimately ended up playing college ball at Indiana after some coaching changes at Arizona, he was once committed to become a Wildcat and met Foles on campus. 

Sudfeld remembers that day well. Foles remembers it "vaguely." 

"He was a young recruit," Foles said. "I remember a tall lanky kid and obviously it's Nate. He went on to have a great career at Indiana, which is awesome."

Foles called Sudfeld a great quarterback and an even greater person. All resemblance aside, Foles considers Sudfeld to be like a brother. 

But there's just no setting this resemblance aside. It's hard to ignore. 

Sudfeld understands that he and Foles are the same height (6-6) with similar builds and hair color, but doesn't see the likeness in their faces. Still, he understands how fans can get confused. 

Big bro agrees. 

"It definitely looks like we could be related, like brothers or something," Foles said. "Can't deny that."

10 reasons the Eagles will repeat as Super Bowl champs

10 reasons the Eagles will repeat as Super Bowl champs

Over the next couple months, you’re going to hear virtually every NFL expert explain why the Eagles can’t win Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta in February.

You’ll hear how nobody has won back-to-backs since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004. How no NFC team has won consecutive championships since the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. How no NFC East team has even won consecutive division titles since the 2003 and 2004 Eagles.

You’ll hear about the short offseason. You’ll hear how Super Bowl champions grow complacent and lazy after a few months on the banquet circuit. You’ll hear how the Eagles’ quarterback situation will be a distraction. 

You’ll hear every reason on Earth why they can’t. But I think they can. I think they will.

Here are 10 reasons why:

1. The roster is better

The Eagles should be better at wide receiver (Mike Wallace for Torrey Smith), defensive line (add Haloti Ngata and Michael Bennett), offensive line (presumably Jason Peters for the entire season) and tight end (Dallas Goedert for Brent Celek). Linebacker may be weaker, but with Jay Ajayi for a full season running back is a push even without LeGarrette Blount, adding Sidney Jones and losing Patrick Robinson is a push and safety and quarterback are pushes. Better roster. The Eagles have 17 starters back from a championship team, and they seem to have the pieces in place to fill those spots seamlessly.

2. They are clearly the class of the NFC East

The Giants were 3-13 last year and have a 37-year-old quarterback who hasn’t won a playoff game in six years. The Redskins were 7-9 last year and have a 34-year-old quarterback who’s 2-5 in the playoffs in his 13-year career. The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, and Dak Prescott has to prove to me he’s elite without them. The most recent NFL.com league rankings have the Eagles No. 1, the Cowboys No. 14, the Redskins No. 18 and the Giants No. 26. Sounds about right. Dominate your division and you have a terrific shot at a first-round bye.

3. Doug Pederson is by far the best coach in the division

Pederson is 3-0 as a playoff head coach. Jay Gruden, Jason Garrett and Pat Shurmur are a combined 1-3 as playoff head coaches.  

4. Peerless skill players

This may be the most talented group of skill players the Eagles have ever had. How do you stop an offense with Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Wallace, Goedert, Darren Sproles, Ajayi and Corey Clement?

5. Staying hungry

Pederson won’t let them get complacent. As early as two days after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Pederson had already addressed the team about staying hungry, about continuing to work as hard as it did in 2017, about moving on quickly from the Super Bowl and preparing for 2018. We saw last year that Pederson has a remarkable kinship with his players and a unique understanding of when to be tough on them and when to go easy, and that will serve him well as they make a run at another title.

6. Carson Wentz

Before he got hurt, Wentz was playing some of the best football in NFL history. In his last nine games, he had 27 touchdown passes and five interceptions, went 8-1 and fashioned a 107.6 passer rating. Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are the only other NFL quarterbacks who’ve ever had 27 TDs and five or fewer INTs in any nine-game stretch in NFL history. He might be the best quarterback in football this year. 

7. Home-field advantage

They’re the best home team in the NFL at 13-3 over the last two regular seasons, with one of those losses coming against Dallas last year in a game they weren’t trying to win. Including the playoffs and not including that Dallas game, they’re 15-2 at the Linc under Doug Pederson. The last time they went into a fourth quarter at the Linc trailing by more than four points was Chip Kelly’s final game as head coach. They’re capable of going 7-1 or even 8-0 at the Linc. Do that and go 5-3 on the road and you’re home for the playoffs. And that means the road to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta has to go through South Philly. And that means see ya in Atlanta.

8. Doug has done it before

Only two NFC teams in the last 25 years have reached back-to-back Super Bowls, and Pederson was a backup quarterback on one of them — the 1996 and 1997 Packers. He knows what it takes.

9. The Injured Guy Factor

If you can win a Super Bowl without Wentz, Jordan Hicks, Sproles, Peters and Chris Maragos, you can sure win one with them. You never know how these things will go, but the Eagles are optimistic all those guys will be ready either for the start of the season or soon after. And that's a Hall of Famer, two Pro Bowlers, a borderline Pro Bowler and a special teams ace. 

10. Because everybody is going to say they can’t.

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Eagles 2018 training camp battles: Third safety

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USA Today Images

Eagles 2018 training camp battles: Third safety

As we get near the start of the Eagles’ 2018 training camp, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the key position battles to watch this summer. 

Today, we’ll look at the third safety. 

Names to know

Tre Sullivan, Chris Maragos, Jeremy Reaves, Corey Graham

What to watch

We know the top two safety spots are claimed already. Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins are going to be on the field. But Jenkins’ versatility makes things trickier. The Eagles used Jenkins as a nickel corner and a linebacker plenty last year, but the only reason they were able to do that is because they felt comfortable leaving the back end with McLeod and Graham. A lot of Jenkins at linebacker was out of necessity without Jordan Hicks, but Jim Schwartz won’t want to lose that versatility. That makes the third safety position so important. 

So who are the players? Well, for now, Sullivan is probably in the lead. The second-year guy from Shepherd University is highly respected in the NovaCare Complex. But is he really ready to go from practice squad to serious contributor? The Eagles should really see what they have but that’s a big jump. 

There’s also Chris Maragos and Jeremy Reaves. One is a veteran special teamer coming off a serious injury. The other is an unproven undrafted — but talented — rookie. It seems unlikely either of them are going to be given this responsibility. Just a few years ago, Maragos was a real player on defense, but he struggled in that role and he’s probably better off making his contributions as a special teamer. He’s really one of the best in the league. 

And, did we mention that Graham is still on the street?

Prediction

I think the Eagles sign Graham to another one-year deal to take back that spot. He was a really underrated free agent pickup a year ago and as long as he still wants to play, the Eagles need to make this work. They need the depth at this position and while it would make sense for some teams to go with younger depth, this guy will play this year and could help them win another championship. 

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