The Philadelphia Eagles made a controversial quarterback decision on Sunday night.
Down just three points in the fourth quarter of a week 17 game with the Washington Football Club, Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson pulled starter Jalen Hurts in favor of backup and former IU star Nate Sudfeld.
Philadelphia was already eliminated from playoff contention. A Washington win put them in the playoffs as the NFC East champions. A loss gave the crown to the 6-10 New York Giants.
Under relentless pressure from the Washington pass rush, Sudfeld’s first appearance in two years didn’t go well. He completed just 5-of-12 passes for 32 yards. Sudfeld threw an interception on his first possession and then lost control of a bad snap on the second. Washington won the game.
Since that decision by Pederson, Sudfeld’s name has become a punchline in the story. But someone is finally coming to his defense.
In a three-slide post on his Instagram, long-time Eagles starting center Jason Kelce explained he knew Sudfeld was told to be prepared to play at some point in the game.
“At the end of the third quarter I was told on the bench that Sudfeld was going in the game. “I went up to Doug and asked him if he was taking Hurts out. He said, ‘Yes, I think Nate’s earned the right to play.’ I said, ‘Everyone else is staying in?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’
“I then went to find Suddy. Started taking snaps on the sideline with him, called the other linemen over and had them listen to his snap count to make sure everyone was on the rhythm of his cadence, and then went out for the next drive.
“At no point was anything from me or anyone else confrontational. We all knew leading into the game that Sudfeld was told to be ready to play, and that Doug wanted to see what he could do in a game situation. All of us during the week leading up were excited for Nate, a guy that has been with us for four years to get an opportunity in a real game to show the world what he can do.
“I understand the optics of how it looked, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little surprised given the circumstances that the move happened when it did, but every one of us did our best, and all of us believe we can win with Nate Sudfeld. It was a difficult situation be be put into, especially when you have a 10-year veteran center who doesn’t snap the ball accurately on your second drive of the game. I know we can win games with Nate because I know Suddy can play. It didn’t work out Sunday, but as always, that’s not just on him.
“We all have complete confidence in Nate as a player. There’s a reason he’s been here this long, and a reason the team brought him back. And that’s because we feel like Nate is a guy we can win with.”
The 27 year-old Sudfeld has been with Philadelphia since the 2017 season. He was drafted by Washington in the sixth round in 2016 and spent one season in D.C.
Sudfeld is Indiana’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
In four NFL appearances, Sudfeld is 25-for-37 for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
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