As Eagles prepare for Jets, quarterback drama continues

Pederson will likely know who his starting quarterback will be for the regular season by Friday.

Ed Benkin
August 28, 2018 - 8:09 pm
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld (7) receives the snap during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 16, 2018.

© Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Eagles will close out their preseason Thursday night. The head coach will know who his starting quarterback will be for the regular season opener the following day.

The Eagles will rest their top players on Thursday as the backups battle the Jets at the Linc. Carson Wentz and Nick Foles will be among the players watching from the sidelines.  

Head Coach Doug Pederson said he will likely know who his starting quarterback will be for the regular season opener by Friday. Pederson is not expected to reveal his decision until game day draws closer, but the head coach knows someone will have to take more snaps with the top unit in practice to prepare for the Falcons on Sept. 6.

"This is still preseason," said Pederson. "We're giving all our quarterbacks reps at this time. When you get into the regular season and start game-planning, then you want whoever that gentlemen is going to be to take the full complement of reps."

While the suspense builds regarding the regular season starter, it will be a much different story on Thursday night against the Jets. Pederson said he will talk to his coaches about the possibility of Nate Sudfeld seeing playing time. The third-string quarterback has been impressive in the preseason, and the Eagles may want to rest Sudfeld on Thursday.  

Regardless, the bulk of the quarterback work against New York will likely go to Joe Callahan and Christian Hackenberg. For Hackenberg, it will be a chance to face members of his former team.

"It's definitely an advantage," Hackenberg said. "But I'm sure they know me, so they're probably using that as well. That's one of those cool things where opportunities like this present itself. I'm sure there's a lot of guys you can ask where that's happened before in games in their career."

The reality is a difficult one for Hackenberg and Callahan. With the top three quarterback spots on the roster solidified, both are essentially auditioning on Thursday night. There is the possibility of time on the practice squad or a chance with another team following a strong performance. 

Callahan will have plenty of support from family and friends in the stands. He played high school football at Holy Spirit in Absecon, New Jersey, and he plans to be ready on Thursday.

"Everybody knows what comes along with this game and the preseason ending," said Callahan. "There's going to be a lot of roster moves, especially with the younger guys. You just have to make sure you're on top of your preparations and pin your ears back and play, and then hope for the best after."

Callahan and Hackenberg will have their opportunity Thursday, but by Friday, all eyes will be on Wentz and Foles. No matter who steps under center against the Falcons, center Jason Kelce said the rest of the offense will be prepared.

"The benefit for us is that we've played a lot with both of those guys," Kelce said. "In the off-season, we've gotten reps with both of those guys. The coaches have done a good job making sure we're prepared for either one of them, whoever is the starter in week one."