Cody Kessler will likely inherit backup QB role with Nate Sudfeld shelved

Ed Kracz

Nate Sudfeld had surgery on his fractured left wrist on Friday. Bet it was successful, because, well, isn’t that what we are always told about surgery on a high-performance athlete?

In fact, it was. A report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter said is that Sudfeld a bone that was fractured above the backup Eagles quarterback’s left wrist was repaired and he will miss six weeks.

That means Sudfeld could return to his backup role for the game against the New York Jets on Oct. 6.

The biggest shame of the situation is that Sudfeld was going to get plenty of preseason reps so that he and the team could feel comfortable should be have to be called upon in the regular season. With Carson Wentz’s injury history, it isn’t out of the question that the Eagles will need a backup at some point in the regular season, or maybe they won’t.

So now it is time to get Cody Kessler ready for the backup role. The other quarterback, rookie Clayton Thorson, simply isn’t ready, not even close.

VIDEO: Cody Kessler talks about how he played on Thursday night against the Titans

Neither quarterback distinguished himself in Thursday night’s 27-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the preseason opener, but they only got a quarter’s worth of work. Both are in their first year in the Eagles’ system, so patience is the key.

Thorson, though, looked completely overmatched in his first pro game, throwing high and low on his way to completing just two of nine throws for seven yards and an interception.

“I've been there as a young quarterback, nervous and excited and wanting to do well, and that all stems from - you look at some of the balls he threw a little bit high and a little erratic,” said Pederson. “It's just nerves and calming down and playing in these games. He'll get better and he'll get more reps now and this will be a great experience for him to watch this tape and learn from.”

The Eagles better hope he learns quickly.

Meanwhile, the quarterback from North Dakota State – not Carson Wentz, but Easton Stick – had a bit of a better pro debut, completing seven of 11 throws for 78 yards while running twice for 51 yards for the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night. The Eagles liked Stick a lot and had a chance to draft him, but traded down a few spots and lost a chance to take him if they planned to because the Chargers took him one pick ahead of when the Birds selected Thorson in the fifth round.

Wentz will likely get some snaps here and there, maybe as soon as Thursday night’s second preseason game in Jacksonville, but this will be Kessler’s show in the preseason.

The concern is that what if something happens to Kessler or Thorson in these final three preseason games? Who takes the QB reps?

That is why the Eagles should add another quarterback. It won’t be Colin Kaepernick or even Sam Bradford, but somebody who is comfortable knowing he will be unemployed again at the end of the month.

Kessler has NFL game experience, 17 games worth with 12 starts. He is a ravenous studier of practice film and game tape.

“He's a veteran guy,” sad Pederson. “He's started games in the National Football League. He's shown us he's been able to handle the playbook and incrementally getting better every day. He gets out there and takes reps. Looking forward, we're not there yet, but he's been in that role before, so he's accustomed to being a backup if that's the case.”

He went just 3-for-6 against the Titans, but it was only a first step.

“We had a couple series (Thursday),” said Kessler. “I felt like I understood what was going on, kind of a basic game plan. Obviously, you’re not going to over-prepare for a preseason game, but I felt comfortable. I had a couple things up front verbally from me and the guys we have to clean up, but that’s just getting on the same page kind of talking to each other then watching film together, but yeah, it was I think a good start.

“Obviously building off the last couple weeks of practice which was my biggest part, was those reps, then getting a couple reps here (Thursday), but that’s something that moving forward that I really got to buckle down and as much as I was prepared just try to do more.”