Forget Teddy Bridgewater suiting up for the Detroit Lions. As whispers of Bridgewater’s potential arrival stir the NFL rumor mill, Lions’ quarterback coach Mark Brunell is remaining tight-lipped about the speculation. Instead, Brunell, a 19-year NFL veteran himself, seems to be thoroughly content with the quarterback room he already has in place. His confidence lies primarily in one name: Nate Sudfeld.
Sudfeld’s Evolution: More than a Backup
Detractors might cast doubts, but Brunell’s faith in backup QB Nate Sudfeld remains steadfast. “He has gotten better as the spring has gone on. He’s made some very good throws. Very good decisions with the ball… He’s a smart kid, he’s a hard worker, he knows our system. He’s done very well for us,” Brunell vouched for Sudfeld, reflecting on his noticeable improvement throughout the offseason.
A few names Dan Campbell mentioned as having good springs so far for the Lions: LB Derrick Barnes, QB Nate Sudfeld, S Ifeatu Melifonwu & CB Starling Thomas
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) June 8, 2023
Sudfeld’s journey with the Lions, beginning post-training camp in 2022, has been one of rapid adaptation. Despite being thrust into the role almost overnight, Sudfeld demonstrated commendable resolve. “It was a tough situation for him,” Brunell acknowledged, admiring Sudfeld’s work ethic, “He worked really hard when we got him last year… that’s his greatest quality, he’s just a really intelligent, intelligent quarterback.”
Sudfeld and Goff: A Perfect Partnership
Brunell commends Sudfeld’s invaluable contribution to the team, particularly his role in supporting starter Jared Goff. In Brunell’s eyes, Sudfeld is more than just a backup; he’s a critical ally for Goff on and off the field.
“He was perfect,” Brunell stated in regards to his support throughout the 2022 season. “The time that he put in, he was great leading up to our games as far as working with Jared and watching tape together… It’s very important for a starter to have a resource on the sidelines, in the meeting room, a backup guy that really just wants to help Jared be the best that he can be. That’s not always the case in quarterback rooms, but in our room it makes all the difference in the world.”
This fraternal dynamic within the Lions’ quarterback room extends beyond mere starter-backup interplay. The mutual respect and collaboration between Goff and Sudfeld fosters an atmosphere, boosting their collective performance and creating an environment ripe for growth. Brunell concluded, “I think if you asked Jared, he’d tell you the same thing, how much he leaned on Nate over the course of the season. I think it really helped our quarterback.”
Rookie Hooker Showcases Potential, Awaits Opportunity
Hendon Hooker, the Lions’ third-string quarterback, is yet another prospect Brunell is excited about. Despite his current rehabilitation for a torn ACL, Hooker has managed to impress with his work ethic and sharp intelligence. Brunell praised Hooker’s dedication: “Great work ethic… the mental side of it is really all he can do right now as far as football is concerned, but he’s done well.”
— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) June 12, 2023
Brad Holmes, the Lions’ Executive Vice President and General Manager, shares Brunell’s optimism for Hooker. He believes the rookie’s transition into the NFL will be smoother thanks to the examples set by Goff and Sudfeld. “Obviously, he’ll be a rookie… but it’s just a testament of I think we have the right situation for him just to come and sit back, see how Jared and Nate do things, and just develop.”
Brunell’s Endorsement: A Testament to Sudfeld and Co.
No rumors or speculation can waver Brunell’s staunch belief in his quarterback room. “I love where we’re at. I absolutely love where we’re at. Like all the guys. I love my room,” Brunell stated with an air of unequivocal certainty.
That certainty most certainly tells us there is no space for Bridgewater in the Lions’ quarterback room.
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Original Photo Credit: © Detroit Free Press