The Eagles were back at practice on Saturday, and head coach Doug Pederson talked about Nate Sudfeld’s injury and how it affects the quarterback depth on the team and the upcoming final 53-man roster.
He also mentioned the development of the offensive line and some of the players who were surprising bright spots during the first preseason game against the Titans on Thursday.
Here’s what Pederson had to say:
On Sudfeld and the QBs
Pederson emphasized that he doesn’t like to put firm timelines in place for a player to return from injury, and he won’t do that for Nate Sudfeld — when asked if they’re still looking at a 6-week return for the QB. But, the head coach did mention that it isn’t a season-ending injury so they’re excited about that.
He also mentioned that there isn’t much else to update about the quarterback position. They are comfortable with the two guys they have behind Carson Wentz — Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson — and they’ll just be getting a lot more reps as they continue through training camp.
And, on whether or not they were going to bring in another QB:
It’s like any other position on our football team: if we see the need to add depth and value, we will. But at this time, we’re confident with the guys we have moving forward.
Pederson noted that they still have three weeks left of camp to decide how they’re going to designate Sudfeld and whether it’ll affect the final 53-man roster.
The head coach also wouldn’t say whether Sudfeld’s injury would affect whether Carson Wentz would take more snaps during the preseason. Pederson said that they just wanted to get through this weekend’s set of practices and figure out how they’ll handle QB preseason reps later.
Later on, Pederson explained that the team signed Cody Kessler in part because of his previous NFL experience. He was someone who could push Sudfeld, and obviously would be someone who could get more reps than the rookie.
He also talked a bit about what he saw from Sudfeld before the injury, and why it’s a good opportunity for Kessler and Thorson moving forward.
“I thought he did some great things, showed great poise, made some great throws. There were a few things that we saw on film that we will be able to coach him up this afternoon when we watch the tape with the players.
Felt good. It is unfortunate that he got injured. Going to miss the rest of training camp, obviously. But this is a great opportunity for both Cody and Clayton to really embrace now the opportunity they have in front of them.”
And while they would have liked to have another game or two from Sudfled to see how he’s developed, Pederson said that he’s done enough in practice and last year, for them to feel comfortable with him being the No. 2 guy when he’s ready to get back on the field.
On handling first-team reps
Carson Wentz and the first team offense took a lot of practice reps on Saturday and Pederson mentioned that it was by design because they had rested for so many days.
“Really wanted to put an emphasis on those guys getting more work as we begin to make a push towards the regular season.”
Tight end Zach Ertz got a lot of reps in Saturday’s practice as well, and Pederson made note that there is a lot of good opportunties through practice and preseason game for the other TEs — like, Joshua Perkins, Will Tye and Alex Ellis — to hone their skills and find a role within the offense.
Pederson also talked about Miles Sanders only taking snaps in the first preseason game, but the head coach noted that the rookie RB gets a ton of carries and work at practice. They feel comfortable with what they know he can do, and Sanders will get additional playing time as they get further into the preseason.
He also noted that they have a lot of running backs on the roster right now, so they wanted to make sure everyone got enough playing time for evaluations.
On the offensive line
Lane Johnson is still considered day-to-day, but Pederson said that they are expecting him to be ready by Week 1 of the regular season.
“If I know Lane, he’s not going to want to miss that game.”
Pederson was also pretty complimentary of second-year player Jordan Mailata, who got a lot of opportunities and snaps in Thursday’s first preseason game.
“He did some good things. We were pleased with his performance. It wasn’t perfect. There were one or two there, just little mental errors. Overall, I felt like he came out with an eagerness, with an aggressiveness, and really showed the type of player that I think he’s capable of being, and what we’ve seen in him, and it came out in the game.”
The head coach said it was a similar situation with rookie OT Andre Dillard.
“He’s put in a lot of work. Obviously, he got the start. Did some really good things. We obviously know he can pass protect, but for us it was about the run game, and how well he could maneuver in the run game. He did a good job.”
Later on, Pederson also mentioned that they know Halapoulivaati Vaitai can play tackle and now they know he can play guard, but they wanted him to get more guard reps in the first preseason game. Similarly, Matt Pryor is another guy that can play both positions, so he got some time at tackle the other night, too.
On surprising standouts
“Daeshon Hall was one that as the game progressed, he really began to push the pocket, get around the quarterback, and be disruptive. He did a really nice job.
I thought just for the short period of time that Rasul [Douglas] and Sidney [Jones] were in the game, I thought both of them played well. Very vanilla on defense obviously, so just a chance to see them execute.
Even [Andrew] Sendejo, a chance to start, get out there, get his feet wet. [He had] 11, 12 snaps I think total. Did a nice job for us, too.
Those are some guys that really kind of stood out, some of the newer guys we’ve had here either this year or last year.”