(WIP) - The Eagles have now held six real training camp practices. Unlike last season when the team was shuffling quarterbacks in-between first, second and third team throughout training camp, they have had a rock solid rotation so far in camp.
Carson Wentz is the starter and gets all the first-team reps. Nate Sudfeld is the backup and gets all the second-team reps. Rookie Clayton Thorson gets first crack with the third team, and veteran Cody Kessler picks up the reps Thorson doesn’t take.
Here is an in-depth look at how Wentz, Sudfeld and Thorson — the three quarterbacks the Eagles are invested in — have done so far:
Stats: 92/134, 8 TD, 4 INT (177 reps)
Analysis: It is impossible to talk about the training camp Wentz is having without starting with how much more work he is getting than he did last year.
So far in training camp Wentz has attempted 134 throws, an average of 22.3 per day. Last year, as he bounced in-and-out of drills as he recovered from a torn ACL/LCL, he attempted only 100 passes in 11 practices — an average of just 9.09 per practice. In fact, Wentz is on pace to get the same amount of work he got prior to the 2017 season, when he threw the ball a whopping 330 times in training camp.
Look at the drastic difference in work Wentz got in training camp prior to the 2018 season compared to his previous two training camps:
2016: 125/187, 13 TD, 1 INT
2017: 227/330, 68%, 31 TD, 5 INT
2018: 64/100, 9 TD, 5 INTs
As you can see, Wentz got almost twice as much work as a rookie — when he was taking third-team reps. This year, if you project his current pace over 15 practices, Wentz is on pace to throw the ball 335 times — the most he ever has in training camp. Projecting his stats is a very inexact science considering we don’t know how often the team will do red-zone drills, but currently, Wentz is on pace to go 230-of-335, almost exactly the same completion percentage he put up in the team’s 2017 training camp.
So the good news is that Wentz is well on his way to getting the work he needs to have a successful 2019 season. Wentz is making the most of those reps, as he makes one-or-two throws each practice that are eye-popping. He has two touchdowns to receiver DeSean Jackson of 40-plus yards. He is without question the most aggressive of the quarterbacks, as he consistently targets defenders 15-plus yards down the field.
Overall, however, Wentz not been especially outstanding during training camp so far.
The two main issues for Wentz so far have been his accuracy down the field. Although he has connected with Jackson twice, that number should be five, as he has missed three potential touchdowns to Jackson down the field where Jackson was pretty open. Wentz struggled completing deep passes down the field last season, as he was 10/28 with just one touchdown and three interceptions on passes longer than 25-yards, according to Sports Info Solutions. Now that the Eagles have one of the best deep threats in the league, Wentz is going to need to take advantage of the chances to make big plays with him down the field. So far he has been very hit-or-miss in doing that.
The second issue for Wentz has been turnovers. Throwing four interceptions in six practices is not ideal, especially with two of them coming in seven-on-seven drills, a drill that no quarterback should be throwing interceptions during. At least one of Wentz’s interceptions looked to be the result of a miscommunication, but when you consider Wentz had issues with turning the ball over last season, seeing him struggle with taking care of the ball in training camp isn’t great.
As mentioned above, the fact Wentz is healthy and getting practice reps is reason enough for Eagles fans to be very excited about where there quarterback is at. Seeing him improve his down-the-field accuracy and taking better care of the ball as training camp goes on, however, is something coaches are likely hoping to see.
Stats: 66/92, 6 TD, 2 INT (145 reps)
Analysis: The Eagles should feel confident about which direction Sudfeld is trending as training camp goes on.
Sudfeld got off to a very rough start to camp, as he had accuracy issues all over the field and mostly just checked the ball down to his tight end or running back. Sudfeld had more interceptions (two) than touchdowns (one) in the first four practices. His lack of aggression with the ball was concerning.
Recently, however, Sudfeld has improved.
Sudfeld had an outstanding showing in the practice where the team worked red zone drills, throwing five touchdowns to zero interceptions. Sudfeld displayed great timing and arm strength, zipping in a few passes to the back of the end zone for touchdowns. Sudfeld also displayed great touch on a touchdown in the corner to tight end Dallas Goedert, lofting the ball over the defenders and into Goedert’s hands.
The preseason is going to be huge for Sudfeld. It wouldn’t be surprising if he got the majority of the reps, even at the expense of Thorson and Kessler only playing the fourth quarter. Sudfeld needs the reps and the Eagles need to see him in real game action.
Sudfeld has done enough so far to keep the Eagles away from adding actual competition for the backup spot. He hasn’t, however, done enough where they should feel extremely confident in him if he had to play during the regular season.
Stats: 16/30, 3 TD, 0 INT (52 reps)
Analysis: Thorson gets graded on a much different scale than the other quarterbacks in camp. He is a rookie facing real NFL competition for the first time in his life. He is also playing with a third-string offensive line and third-string receivers. So he deserves time adjust.
That being said, Thorson has not looked good so far.
Thorson seems afraid to throw the ball at times, a clear sign he isn’t confident in what he is seeing. Thorson has not hit double-digit throws in any of the six practices so far, as he has either been “sacked” or scrambled with the ball multiple times. He has had a few terrible throws. Throws that were so bad they caused a reaction from the crowd.
Thorson has had some bright moments. He threw three touchdowns on the day the team practiced in the red zone and has yet to throw an interception. He does throw a very nice deep ball, something that has been obvious to anyone watching during individual drills.
Overall, however, Thorson seems very far away from being able to play in a game.
You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at email@example.com!