Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles play their final road game of the season on Sunday when they visit the New York Giants. For the first time since they ended their 2015 season on the same field, Carson Wentz won't be the starting quarterback. Nick Foles takes over an 11-2 team against a 2-11 team, and a win would clinch a first-round bye for the Eagles. You're reading the Friday edition of Early Birds. It's free for anyone to sign up here to receive in your inbox every weekday. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
Here's what I'll be watching when the Eagles visit the New York Giants on Sunday…
Zach Berman: Does the Eagles' confidence in you as the No. 2 quarterback validate your decision to stay in Philadelphia when the Indianapolis Colts showed interest in signing you?
Nate Sudfeld: "I mean, I've always wanted to be here since I've got here. I'm just very excited that they think enough of me to give me an opportunity. And I'm looking forward to, if my name is called, to be ready to go. Everybody starts at some point, whether it's Week 1 or whatever week. So if ever I'm called upon, I will be ready and I'm very excited about that."
Zach Berman: How will your gameday role change? Will you still go through an intense pregame workout with quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo?
Nate Sudfeld: "Very similar to what I've been doing as a three, except I'll be dressed out. I was helping Carson out and Nick out, seeing coverages and talking through plays, what they're doing to us and the pressures they're bringing. The only difference is I'll be wearing shoulder pads and a helmet. …Coach Flip every week kills me for 35 minutes. It's been great, it's really helped my development, have been doing a bunch of footwork and throwing and stuff. I won't be doing that. I won't be dead tired when the game starts. I'll be ready to go. "
Zach Berman: Are you still being confused for Nick Foles?
Nate Sudfeld: "In LA, people still thought I was Nick even though he was dressed out and I was walking right in front of him. …Hopefully he keeps doing what I know he can do so people love me walking down the street."
Great question, Pete, and it's one I've been thinking about in recent days. You want to get Nick Foles as much action as possible, but the Eagles also cannot afford an injury at quarterback — or elsewhere. So yes, I sit key starters after a drive or two. I want them preparing during the week as if they're going to play, but then pull them early in the game. That's what Dallas did against the Eagles last season.
Another question — what if the Eagles clinch the No. 1 seed this weekend? I'd still play the starters in the Raiders game. Sitting them for three weeks would be tough to do, although the Eagles need to be careful with injuries. It's a good problem to have, but it's certainly a question that will be sent Doug Pederson's way if/when the Eagles clinch the No. 1 seed.
Stefen Wisniewski was limited in practice on Thursday. Jason Kelce was a full participant and was not on the injury report, and he said the ankle that was bothering him in recent weeks feels better now. But why practice them, you wonder? It's simple — they have a game on Sunday. It's hard to go through the week without practicing and then play. It's done in special circumstances, but it's not the preference — and certainly not for two starters on the offensive line. If they can't practice, they don't. But the coaching staff believes it's important to get practice reps.
What's tricky about this question is I wouldn't pick any popular names because I don't think the Eagles need to burn a spot on the 53-man roster for a quarterback at this point. If you add a veteran, he's taking a roster spot. You can argue you might need that quarterback more than Dannell Ellerbe or Will Beatty, but more than likely, the third quarterback at this point would be a practice squad arm. So that's a player without any or much NFL experience, and you bring him in as an extra passer in practice.