“I’m excited,” Sudfeld said following Tuesday’s 90-minute practice at Redskins Park. “It’s out of my control, so just another day sooner to get to play some football. I think it’s also good for us to deal with, the change of schedule. Not everything goes perfect in a game, so you have to learn how to prepare and always be ready — especially in my position — so I think it’s a good thing.”
Sudfeld, 22, a sixth-round draft pick from Indiana, has been announced as the Redskins’ starter for the game and expects to play “until they pull me out.”
In roughly four quarters of preseason work to date, he has completed 20 of 35 throws for 166 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
His goals for Wednesdays are clear and basic: To show competence and command.
“I really just want to play very clean football — have no turnovers, be very good in the huddle in and out of the huddle, call the plays correctly, be very smooth and polished,” Sudfeld said on Tuesday. “I’m not trying to go out there and make the biggest plays or anything like that. I just want to play good, solid football.”
With the forecast calling for Tampa to be bombarded by Tropical Depression Nine on Thursday, NFL officials moved the game to Wednesday night. Coach Jay Gruden downplayed the disruption, telling reporters after Tuesday’s practice that it has simply speeded up preparations a bit.
Gruden hadn’t planned to play any of the team’s projected starters against Tampa Bay, using the final preseason game to sort out the final round of roster cuts, which must be made by Saturday at 4 p.m., and pecking order of the season-opening depth chart.
But because the rescheduled game conflicts with the team’s annual Welcome Home Luncheon, which serves as a fundraiser for the Washington Redskins’ Charitable Foundation, projected starters won’t even made the trip. Only the players who Gruden wants to see compete against Tampa will travel. Everyone else — essentially the projected starting lineup — will remain in Virginia to attend the annual fundraiser.
Gruden informed the team after Tuesday morning’s breakfast meetings which players would be making the trip.
“It’s guys that coach feels that need to do a few more things or need to play this game will be traveling tomorrow, including myself,” said defensive end Ricky Jean Francois. “It’s gonna be a long day.”
Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who obviously won’t make the trip, said the schedule-change caught him off guard.
“I hate we’re not going to be able to be there to root some of those guys on that we’ve grown close to,” Williams said, cutting an eye toward Sudfeld, whose locker is nearby.
The 6-6, 235-pound Sudfeld, who threw for a school-record 7,879 yards at Indiana while recording 61 touchdowns to 20 interceptions, was drafted as a developmental project. He’s not expected to play this season but gives the team a youngster to rear in their offensive system behind incumbent starter Kirk Cousins, 28, and backup Colt McCoy, 29.
Sudfeld credited Cousins and McCoy with helping him progress these last months.
“I feel like I have an understanding of what we’re doing offensively for the most part. I can function in the huddle. Make some checks; make some audibles. I can get the ball to receivers and know here they going to be. I’m still progressing every single day, but I think I’m light years ahead of where I was when I showed up, but still think I have light years to go.”