The Eagles’ signing of Josh McCown was sure to have a trickledown effect at quarterback. One question was whether that ripple would start at the No. 2 spot, with the demotion of Nate Sudfeld.
Sudfeld, who is still more than a month from returning after fracturing his left wrist, said Monday that he didn’t see the acquisition of McCown as a setback.
“I feel very confident in my abilities, and I feel like they have a lot of confidence in me,” Sudfeld said. "I understand the signing, especially with the injury I got. We’re just a really great team and I think Josh adds to a great team.”
While McCown’s signing came after Cody Kessler suffered a concussion Thursday night against the Jaguars, Kessler’s return to practice Monday made it even clearer that the Eagles brought in the 40-year-old veteran because they sought an upgrade.
After Sudfeld’s injury in the preseason opener against the Titans on Aug. 8, the Eagles seemed intent on riding with Kessler as the backup to Carson Wentz -- perhaps into the season. But he has struggled throughout training camp and hasn’t played well in the preseason.
“With what happened, I understand it, and with Nate out also, I understand it," Kessler said. “It’s part of it. For me, I can’t think, 'What’s the plan here? ‘What’s going to happen?’ playing all these scenarios in my head, which is tough not to do. I’ve just got to come out and practice and keep going and get ready to play Thursday.”
Kessler might play Thursday against the Ravens because McCown is still learning the Eagles’ offense. They split repetitions with the second unit Monday during a joint practice with Baltimore at the NovaCare Complex.
Kessler ended up missing only one practice after the concussion. He got injured on the seventh play from scrimmage in Jacksonville, when an unblocked Datone Jones blindsided him. Some observers blamed rookie left tackle Andre Dillard for the hit, but Kessler confirmed that he should have known that he was “hot.”
“I just got hit in the back. Didn’t see it coming,” Kessler said. “It was a good call by the O-line. I was trying to beat them to the right. There was another throw to the left I probably should have got to.”
Sudfeld said that nothing has changed in terms of the timetable for his return. He had the hard cast removed from his wrist Monday. Coach Doug Pederson made it clear on Sunday, a day after McCown was inked to a one-year deal with $2 million fully guaranteed, that Sudfeld’s job isn’t safe and that he will have to compete to keep it.
“The quarterback position is not immune to any of this,” Pederson said.
Pederson said he was pleased with Sudfeld’s performance in the Titans game, but that he would have liked to have seen more this preseason. The fourth-year quarterback has thrown only 25 career NFL passes, while McCown has thrown 2,628 passes over 17 seasons.
“I’ve really been appreciative that the Eagles have communicated with me every step of the way,” Sudfeld said. “I’m really excited to have Josh in the room. I think he’s a phenomenal guy. ... I’m really excited to learn from him and improve my game.”
Kessler and McCown played together with the Browns in 2016.
“The best part of it is I’ve known Josh for a long time," Kessler said. "He’s one of the closest people to me through football.”
While Sudfeld’s spot on the roster is safe, Kessler’s could be precarious. Rookie Clayton Thorson faces an uphill battle as well. The Eagles aren’t likely to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. Thorson could be a practice squad candidate if the Eagles can slide him through waivers.
Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers, hampered by injuries pretty much since coming here in the 2018 offseason, crumpled to the ground at the sideline Monday after catching a pass across the middle. Rodgers seemed extremely upset and was consoled by Pederson before leaving practice on a cart.
The Eagles did not offer an update, but an Achilles or calf injury seemed likely. Rodgers hasn’t been able to do much in this camp and might be in danger of losing his roster spot to Josh Perkins.