Nate Sudfeld

5 more Eagles who were impressive during spring practices

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5 more Eagles who were impressive during spring practices

As the Eagles wrapped up their spring practices last week, head coach Doug Pederson was asked for a list of young players who stood out over the last few weeks. 

It was a pretty good list (see story)

But with a limited amount of time, Pederson probably didn’t mention every young player who had a good spring. I’m gonna give him a hand and list five more players he failed to mention. 

De’Vante Bausby 
This guy was the revelation of the spring. He joined the Eagles’ practice squad last season but seemingly has a great shot to make the active roster this year. During many OTA practices and in minicamp, the 25-year-old took first-team reps at the nickel corner spot. I still have trouble believing that Bausby is going to be on the field ahead of Sidney Jones, but that doesn’t take away from how good he’s looked so far. Aside from just getting first-team reps, he made the most of them. It seemed like he was making a play every day. 

Nate Sudfeld
This was really our first extended look at Sudfeld, but it’s far from our last. In fact, prepare yourselves to see a ton of the third-stringer this summer. Because while Carson Wentz recovers, Sudfeld is Nick Foles’ backup. And the Eagles need to treat Foles like a starter, which means fewer reps. Sudfeld didn’t come to the Eagles until after last cuts a year ago. This spring, it was easy to see why the Eagles like Sudfeld so much. He’s pretty athletic, can move his legs, and spent the few weeks dropping dimes all over the field. Eventually, Foles is going to move on and Sudfeld should be able to take the backup role. 

Bryce Treggs
Remember when Treggs-mania took over Philadelphia in 2016? Fans were clamoring for more of Treggs after he made that one big catch. Since then, that mania has certainly died down, but Treggs is off to a good start in 2018. He’s a much better player than he was a few years ago. To me, he made the best play we saw all spring, when he stretched out to catch one of those dimes from Sudfeld. Treggs doesn't have a great shot of making the Eagles’ roster, but he can put together some more good tape and maybe find another team. 

Nate Gerry 
In his second season out of Nebraska, Gerry has a real chance to win the weakside linebacker job. He’s battling Kamu Grugier-Hill and Corey Nelson for the spot left by Mychal Kendricks’ release. And Gerry is off to a good start. Having a year in the defense under his belt should certainly help him gain an edge on Nelson, but he still needs to make plays. In the spring, he did. He had a couple interceptions and seemed to read everything well. His background as a safety is clearly something the Eagles like for this position; the other two guys have coverage skills too. 

Josh Sweat
It’s a little tough for defensive ends to stand out in non-padded practices, but the rookie from Florida State did. The first thing to notice about Sweat is just how big he is. He’s listed at 6-5, 251. For now, he’s really long and skinny, but is quick and athletic too. It helped him going against someone as raw as Jordan Mailata, but even when he was facing others, Sweat still looked explosive. We’ll know more once the pads go on, but it seems like the Eagles might have a steal and somehow added even more depth on the D-line. 

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Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

The Eagles were just a few days away from the Super Bowl and there was a clear indication of just how loose the team really was. 

On Feb. 1, Carson Wentz tweeted out a photo proving it. 

So, what’s the point of this? Why show a photo that Wentz sent out from an escape room well over four months ago?

Well, because it was a little glimpse into the future. Because the five guys in that photo are going to be the five guys in the Eagles’ quarterback room this season. 

Along with Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld, the other two are Press Taylor (sitting) and Spencer Phillips. This offseason, after John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to take the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota, the Eagles promoted Taylor to take his position as quarterbacks coach and then promoted Phillips to take Taylor’s spot as the assistant quarterbacks coach. 

It was probably a no-brainer. 

And it’s crazy to think, but just a year after the Eagles blocked DeFilippo from leaving the organization, DeFilippo has left … and the Eagles are going to be just fine. 

At the time, before the 2017 season, it made sense to block DeFilippo. He was seemingly integral to the development of a young Wentz and he certainly deserves plenty of credit for the big jump in Wentz’s play last season. But now, without him, the Eagles are going to keep a finely-tuned machine running. And they’re going to do it with a very young and very promising coach. 

Taylor is just 30 years old, which seems incredibly young for a coach who is supposed to lead the most important position room for the Eagles and possibly the most important position room in the entire league. He’s just one year older than Foles. 

He might be young, but Taylor is uniquely positioned to handle this responsibility. And aside from his football acumen — which has been touted by his superiors — it’s his relationship with the players in the room that made him such a no-brainer replacement for DeFilippo. 

“I feel really close (to Wentz, Foles and Sudfeld),” Taylor said last week. “I know what makes them tick going into it. And then we all had our own relationships. Obviously, I wasn’t their quarterbacks coach at the time, but I was in the room, sat through those conversations, had my own conversations out on the practice field. I feel like I know the things they like, the things they didn’t like. And then was able to learn from the other guys, the other coaches in the room.”

After the Super Bowl, Taylor is probably best known in the city for bringing the Philly Special to the Eagles. In his position last year, it was his job to mine gadget plays from around the league and found that play being used by the Bears the season before (see story). And that’s great. But all the stuff we don’t know about last year is what’s going to make the most difference for the Eagles this season. 

Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when Chip Kelly brought him to town. And then Doug Pederson was smart enough (and without ego) to keep Taylor in 2016. The brother of Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Press has quickly worked his way up the ladder. 

Last week, Wentz was asked if the team wanted his opinion before promoting Taylor. 

“I think it was pretty much known how we felt about Press beforehand,” Wentz said. “We’ve seen Press behind the scenes the last couple years and how hard he works. A lot of guys have a ton of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I know that’s where I sit. So far, it’s been great. He understands the game extremely well. We’re very like-minded, both on and off the field. The relationship I have with him personally and the relationship he has with all the quarterbacks has been tremendous so far.”

The relationship between Taylor and the QBs is so important. Relationships for this entire coaching staff are so important. Really, that’s what has made Pederson so special. He has that “emotional intelligence” and understands how to deal with his players. 

Taylor seems to have that too. And really, that’s why the Eagles’ QB room won’t miss a beat. 

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Eagles learning plenty about Nate Sudfeld in OTAs

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Eagles learning plenty about Nate Sudfeld in OTAs

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.