The Detroit Lions’ backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld isn’t one for the limelight. Yet, his role has a profound impact on the team’s performance. Sudfeld, a 7-year veteran, speaks with a calm confidence that belies his crucial role within the Detroit Lions’ offense.
At present, his duty is clear – being the backup quarterback to starter Jared Goff. Yet, this might soon change. The Lions have recently welcomed veteran free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for a face-to-face meeting. This move signals the potential for more depth in the quarterback room, already populated with Goff, Sudfeld, and rookie Hendon Hooker.
Despite the buzz, Sudfeld remains unfazed, focusing on what he knows to be his primary role – supporting Jared Goff. “Jared, he’s ready to take off…he’s been such a great leader…has the hunger to be great.” Sudfeld shared, showcasing his readiness to boost Goff’s performance.
Veteran Wisdom Fuels Nate Sudfeld in his Role
Drawing on his experience from teams with innovative offenses and brilliant coaching staffs, Sudfeld is an invaluable resource for Goff and the team. His past interactions with coaches like Doug Pederson, Kyle Shanahan, have primed him to serve as an exceptional support system for Goff and the Lions under head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.
Sudfeld also basks in his harmonious relationship with Goff, revealing they “speak the same language,” a clear advantage in the quarterback room.
Jared and I have had some similar experiences with some coaches to where we are able to speak the same language in some ways which has been really fun…we’re able to challenge each other.
This mutual understanding helps maintain the rhythm and momentum from season to season. “All the cliché’s are true, like, rent is due every single day…all the great ones have earned it every single day,” he said, alluding to their shared commitment to the game.
This strong relationship shows, as quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell notes: “It’s very important for a starter to have a resource on the sidelines, in the meeting room, a backup guy that really wants to help Jared be the best that he can be.”
Handling the Teddy Bridgewater Rumors
The Lions’ recent meeting with free agent Teddy Bridgewater could stir the waters in the quarterback room. But Sudfeld remains unflappable. His take on the situation is clear: “If I’ve learned anything in this league, it’s nobody owes you anything…none of it is personal…everyone’s just trying to win, everyone’s trying to do the best thing for the team…it’s about narrow focus.” His focus remains on what he can control – his performance and commitment to the team.
Despite the rumors, the Lions front office maintains transparent communication with Sudfeld, who expressed his appreciation for their honesty. “They’ve just been communicating with me every step of the way,” said Sudfeld.
Proving Ground: Training Camp
Sudfeld’s performance so far in training camp has impressed many, including offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. “He is getting full speed, live evaluation right now throughout camp…he’s come out with great command, great control,. He’s throwing with accuracy, he’s making good decisions,” Johnson shared, praising Sudfeld’s ability to put together a series of good days at the camp.
Sudfeld’s previous successes, including an NFL record for completion percentage in a debut and a Super Bowl win in 2018 with the Eagles, surely shape his approach. As Sudfeld himself puts it:
Everywhere I’m trying to go I want to do what I can to help (the team) win. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had a lot of winning seasons, a lot of playoff experiences.
Although his on-field presence might be sparse, his influence is monumental. Nate Sudfeld is an invisible hand steering the Lions toward a winning trajectory, and he’s ready to attack any role that’s thrown his way.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK