Nate Sudfeld was off to a strong start in only his second preseason game with the Eagles, lofting a perfectly-thrown pass to Marken Michel in the second quarter of Thursday night’s game. It was the highlight of the night for Sudfeld, who is slated to be Philadelphia’s new No. 2 quarterback (with Nick Foles now in Jacksonville).
However, Sudfeld’s night ended prematurely after sustaining an apparent injury to his left arm. He was seen with a cast on his arm after being taken out of the game in favor of veteran Cody Kessler. Coach Doug Pederson said after the game that the quarterback suffered a broken wrist:
The Washington Redskins‘ sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft, Sudfeld, who enjoyed a solid college career at Indiana, completed 19 of his 23 pass attempts with the Eagles during his rookie season. With Wentz out with an injury, Sudfeld served as the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback when Foles led Philadelphia to an improbable playoff run that ended with a victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title.
“I think it can be a really good indication for him,” Pederson recently said when asked about Sudfeld, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The goal would be to get him as much time as we can behind center in these four games. I don’t want him to feel like there’s any kind of pressure, but there’s always pressure to just go perform.”
The Browns traded Kessler to the Jaguars in 2018, where he replaced Blake Bortles late in the season and completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 709 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a 77.4 passer rating in five games (four starts). Kessler is a former third-round pick and his talent demonstrates he can play in the NFL, whether as a starting quarterback or in a reserve role. He has just been the victim of a poor offensive line, which hasn’t affected his stats under pressure. In his three-year career, Kessler is 71 for 134 with 669 yards and five touchdowns and two interceptions for a 73.3 passer rating under pressure. Not the best numbers, but certainly not the worst.
Kessler wasn’t asked to do much in Jacksonville, but the advanced stats showed he was accurate on the passes that were thrown 0-to-9 yards. Per Pro Football Focus, Kessler finished fifth in the league in passes that went 0-to-9 yards at 72.3 percent (that measures the away-from-coverage designation by PFF). The top four passers in that category were Alex Smith, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Baker Mayfield — pretty good company for Kessler. Kessler went 73 for 89 on passes that went 0-to-9 yards for 516 yards, with one touchdown and one interception for an 89.9 passer rating.