Nate Sudfeld Talks Eagles QB Competition, Relationship with Jalen Hurts

Nate Sudfeld, Eagles backup quarterback

Getty Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld likely won't see the field in the Super Bowl, but he's still ready.

Nate Sudfeld is the Eagles’ backup quarterback “right now.” But a lot can happen between right now and Week 1.

Sudfeld was named the front-runner to win the No. 2 job way back in March and he’s only strengthened his case with a stellar training camp. The former sixth-round pick has been leading the second-team offense on the field while taking leadership cues from Carson Wentz in the quarterbacks room.

However, Sudfeld isn’t too naive to notice the elephant in the room. The Eagles didn’t invest a second-round pick in Jalen Hurts for nothing. The room is getting crowded. And the chairs might get rearranged.

“You learn in this league never to assume anything, you got to go earn it every single day,” Sudfeld told reporters on Friday. “It’s a broken record but rent is due every day and you got to make sure you bring it. So definitely not taking anything for granted. Staying thankful for the opportunity I have and putting my best foot forward every day.”

His comments came exactly one day after Doug Pederson declared him the backup behind Wentz. They also came one day after a report about the Eagles being “blown away” by Hurts. The rookie has been dazzling people with his play in camp, including highlight-reel red-zone runs and majestic 40-yard touchdown bombs. Hurts’ flashy play — and off-the-field awareness — has heated up the competition.

“Jalen really carries himself like a pro already,” Sudfeld said. “He’s a mature dude and he really knows football. He throws it better than I think people give him credit for. He’s got a ton of talent so I think he’s going to have a great career.”

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Sudfeld on Hurts’ Pick: ‘I Accepted It’

Sudfeld hasn’t watched the NFL Draft since 2016, the year he was selected 187th overall by Washington. There’s nothing wrong with the event. He just isn’t interested in it. So when the Eagles called out the name “Jalen Hurts” on draft day, Sudfeld didn’t see it. He heard about it through the grapevine, from a friend. The California native quickly decided that it wasn’t going to affect him negatively or change his approach.

“I got an update that that’s what happened, and just kind of accepted it and knew that wasn’t going to change my approach,” Sudfeld said. “You can never have too many good quarterbacks in a room and we’ve kind of been an example of that the last few years since I’ve been here.”

He was referring to a room that has been graced by celebrity backups like Nick Foles and Josh McCown. Sudfeld was hoping to add his name to that vaunted list, but Hurts’ arrival could hinder the plan. He could lose his seat at the table.

“Nothing in this league overly surprises [me] but definitely didn’t change my approach,” Sudfeld said of the Hurts’ pick. “I knew that I’m still going to have a good opportunity and knew that I have to do my best and bring it every single day and help this team out.”

Then again, Sudfeld has also expressed a desire to start somewhere. It won’t happen in Philly, with or without Hurts lurking in the shadows. The Eagles made a huge financial commitment to Wentz and expect him to stay healthy for 16 games, hopefully, more than that.

“It really doesn’t change my approach for the longterm,” Sudfeld said. “The hope is that Carson plays all the snaps and I want to support him but if I’m ever called upon, it’s my job to be ready and prepared and play well and help this team win.”

If he does that, the 26-year-old feels like the opportunities will come.

“I still see myself as a young player,” Sudfeld said. “I have a lot of confidence in myself.”

Really, Really Impressed with Young Receivers

The biggest buzz around camp — other than Hurts, of course — has been charting the growth of the young receivers. The Eagles cobbled together a track team of human cheat codes at the position, insanely fast guys like Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins. They are wowing everyone at camp.

“A ton of speed, some great releases, natural ability, great hands,” Sudfeld said of the young receivers. “Starting with Jalen Reagor … he gets in and out of breaks at a pretty special level so far and he’s got strong hands, and then Quez and John Hightower have been really impressive, too. Got a ton of juice.”

In typical quarterback speak, Sudfeld was quick to praise the other skill positions. He’s “pumped” about the tight ends and running backs, too, and wouldn’t name-drop any standout stars.

“I wouldn’t say one person has been above the rest,” Sudfeld said. “There have been some impressive young guys. Our scouting staff and our front office has done an amazing job.”

One other thing he pointed out was the seamless way the new coaching staff has gelled. It’s been a truly collaborative process, especially in terms of drawing up plays and teaching concepts. Doug Pederson remains the “strongest voice” in the room but everyone has a say, especially Rich Scangarello. The new senior offensive assistant has made small tweaks to the offense.

“I couldn’t more excited about our offensive room right now,” Sudfeld said. “I mean Rich, he’s really brought a great breath of fresh air to our offense. We’re doing a lot of similar things but a lot of great tweaks here and there to marry up some things. He’s bringing a lot of expertise in that area.”

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