Christian Hackenberg is smart enough to understand the reality.
He's the fifth quarterback. Nobody keeps five quarterbacks. Nobody keeps four quarterbacks. A lot of teams don't even keep three.
He also understands a bigger reality. He's in a place where he can become a better quarterback every day.
And that's the reality he's choosing to focus on.
"At the end of the day, you only have control over what you have control over," Hackenberg said before practice Sunday.
"There's a lot of variables and a lot of speculation that goes on and I think the more narrow-minded you can be and kind of just focus on the day-to-day and the process, the better off you are.
"Things like picking up the offense as fast as you can, pushing yourself, kind of getting lost in those things, and being able to separate yourself (from worrying), and at the end of the day, some things work out, some things don't.
"I just have to do everything I can with the resources that have been provided to me to make sure that whatever gauge or time or whatever there is that's going to go into the evaluation process that puts me in the best position to be able to grow. Because that's the end-game.
"Getting better and continuing to take baby steps. I'm still young and those things for me are big. That's the coolest part for me. Really enjoying it and staying day-to-day, hour-to-hour."
The Eagles signed Hackenberg, the Jets' 2016 second-round pick, last weekend and have begun the process of teaching him the offense and working on his mechanics.
It's really a pretty cool thing. Both sides understand there isn't a roster spot for Hackenberg. Both sides understand, barring several very unlikely developments, he'll be released on Sept. 1.
But both sides simply value the process of a young quarterback getting better. Doug Pederson loves working with young quarterbacks, and Hackenberg is a willing student.
And that's where everybody's focus is.
"Just feels good to kind of get back in the swing of things," said Hackenberg, who had been out of football after being released by the Raiders in June.
"It's kind of hard to gauge things coming in so late, but just making sure I'm taking advantage of every opportunity I get. Studying extra, making sure I catch up as best I can and then taking advantage of some of the resources in the building.
"There's a lot here. They do a great job with providing you everything from strength and condition to nutrition, all that stuff. Just trying to get myself in the best position so when those opportunities do come I can go out and do what I've got to do.
"But it's been great. I love the environment, I love the building. Really excited for the opportunity and just trying to take full advantage of it."
We watched Hackenberg throwing before the Patriots preseason game, and his arm jumps out at you. He's got a rocket.
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he sure looks the part.
If the Eagles trade a quarterback, which isn't out of the question, there's a chance Hackenberg could wind up as No. 3.
But that's getting ahead of ourselves. Right now, he's just enjoying some relative anonymity after two years of drama in New York.
"I've [gotten better at] having to compartmentalize outside pressure and all these things that are getting put on you," he said. "So when you have time when you're not in the league or not with a team ... you can sit or mope about it [or] just put in the work."
Hackenberg won't play Thursday night against the Browns, but with Wentz and Foles not playing in the preseason finale a week from Thursday, we should get our first look at Hackenberg.
Opponent? The Jets.
"It's not my decision, but I'm definitely putting in the time that I can," he said. "Staying late, coming in early.
"It's a great room, great quarterbacks coach (Press Taylor), Carson's awesome, ton of respect for him, Nick's great, Nate's great, Joe (Callahan) has been awesome.
"Those guys have done a great job accepting me and bringing me in and pushing me and giving me a lot of good stuff to work on and chew on. It's been great."
Hackenberg sounds happier than he's been in a long time. Even though he knows it'll all probably end in 12 days.