In the final game of the 2016 preseason, Redskins rookie quarterback Nate Sudfeld will get his first start and an opportunity to prove why he deserves a spot on the final roster.*
While the fourth preseason game may not mean much for players expected to be starters once the regular season rolls around, but for someone like Nate Sudfeld, the opportunity means everything.
The rookie quarterback from Indiana is getting the chance to start and play all of Wednesday's game in Tampa Bay against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Kirk Cousins likely not making the trip and Colt McCoy only around for emergency, Sudfeld's performance will play a major role in the team deciding if it wants a third quarterback on the roster.
"I really think it's a great opportunity for all of us, just to first of all compete and have fun, playing the game we love on the big stage," Sudfeld said. "But there are also opportunities for guys to make the team, make a good final impression. Everybody's very focused, who's going to play in this game and we're excited about the challenge."
So far this preseason Sudfeld has completed 20-of-35 throws for 166 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He is hoping to only improve on his performance in his first starting opportunity.
The game being moved up from Thursday to Wednesday could have thrown off his preparation, but Sudfeld has been focused on this challenge for the last few days.
"I mean it's not ideal to do a game a little bit early just because it kind of messes with your process of what you study each day, but I've really diligent throughout the week of getting ready for this game, so I feel very prepared," Sudfeld said. "The funny thing is, I told my quarterback coach on Sunday, I was like, 'I feel like I could play them tomorrow,' about Monday, kind of not thinking anything of it, so hopefully it holds true and we play pretty well. I feel very prepared."
Because of the time Cousins and McCoy have seen on the field the past three games, Sudfeld has not gotten as much time to develop from college to the professional game. The many differences that players see between the two is extensive and it can often take players awhile to fully absorb everything they need to know.
With the 187th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected quarterback Nate Sudfeld of Indiana. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.
This makes the chance Sudfeld is being given to not only show what he can do Wednesday, but also to continue to learn and grow, invaluable.
"He's progressed extremely well and it's just a long way to go. These kids out of college, no matter which position you play, there's always a lot of learning to do in the National Football League. Especially at the quarterback position. He's picked it up very well," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "He'll be the first to tell you that he's miles-and-miles away, but he's making great strides and he's great as far as wanting to learn and wanting to do the right thing. It's just hard to get him the reps that he needs, but he's taking advantage of the ones that he gets and he'll get a great opportunity tomorrow."
With all eyes on Sudfeld and how he performs against the Buccaneers, the goals he has set for himself have become simple.
"I really just want to play very clean football, have no turnovers and be very good in the huddle, in and out of the huddle clean operation, call the plays correctly, be very smooth and polished," Sudfeld said. "I want to show the progression I've made. I'm not trying to go out there to make the biggest plays or anything like that, I just want to play good, solid football."
So with all the preparations completed all that is left is to see what the rookie can do on the field.
"'The Nate Sudfeld Show,'" Gruden said when a reporter suggested the term. "I like it.'"