Chase Daniel got Sam Bradford’s old locker.
Carson Wentz got his job.
So on Monday, before the Eagles’ new starting quarterback took to the podium in the wake of his promotion, a disappointed but business-like Daniel fielded questions from his new corner stall about being leapfrogged by the No. 2 overall pick.
“I think any competitor would be a little disappointed,” Daniel said. “But believe me, it’s not going to get in the way of my preparation. It’s not going to hinder me in any way moving forward.
“Carson’s ready for this and it’s about him now. And we’re going to move forward like that.”
Daniel, 29, said all the right things on Monday afternoon. Still, his obvious disappointment came through.
“It’s unfortunate for me personally, but that’s not what it’s about,” Daniel said. “It’s not about one person, it’s about the team. It’s about what gives us the best shot to win moving forward and obviously, some guys think that’s Carson. And that’s fine and we’re going to get behind that and roll with it. Like I said, my preparation is not going to change. If anything it helps me a little bit more to just get that fire going and to help the young buck come Sunday.”
This offseason, the veteran quarterback Daniel was handpicked during free agency by head coach Doug Pederson and then paid very handsomely (three years, $21 million) by de facto GM Howie Roseman.
At the time Daniel was brought in, the Eagles had already signed Bradford to a two-year deal. A couple months later, when the team moved up to take Wentz with the second-overall pick, it still kept Daniel as the backup. Although it was no secret that Wentz would eventually take over the team, Bradford-Daniel-Wentz was the way the team operated all spring and summer.
Until this weekend.
While Daniel had been the team’s backup, when the Eagles traded Bradford to the Vikings on Saturday, he said the team made it very clear that Wentz was being promoted into the starting role.
“That was the plan all along,” Daniel said. “Right when I heard Sam got traded, I was informed that Carson’s going to be the starter.”
Still, it stings. This was probably the best chance Daniel, who has two starts in six seasons, was ever going to have to be a starter. He played for Pederson for the last three years in Kansas City and knows the offense better than just about anyone else.
Daniel said despite getting passed over for the starting gig, he does think Pederson has been honest with him throughout the entire offseason and summer. And the head coach certainly understands why Daniel is a little upset.
“If I were Chase, I would probably be a little disappointed,” Pederson said.
The thing is, once upon a time he was Daniel. Nearly 20 years ago, in 1999, Pederson was brought in by then first-year head coach Andy Reid to be the stop-gap until Donovan McNabb was ready. That took about half the season.
By now, that has been brought up a billion times, but it holds true. Only by naming Wentz the starter for Week 1, Pederson broke the comparison. The head coach said he didn’t look back at that situation as he made his decision this weekend.
And he certainly didn’t tell Wentz that he was very upset and angry in '99 when he was yanked in favor of a young McNabb.
“I could imagine,” Daniel said. “I didn’t know that, but I could imagine that.”
Daniel said his preparation won’t change. He’ll still prepare to be the starter, knowing he’s one injury away from being the guy. What will change, however, will be his role as the backup. Instead of backing up a five-year veteran, he’ll be backing up an inexperienced rookie who played at North Dakota State last year.
Daniel said he’s up for the task and Wentz is up for learning from him.
“We just really talked about business,” Wentz said. “We talked about how we’re going to approach the week, how we’re going to approach it going forward. We didn’t really talk about the details. We were both on the same page, even today, just being a mentor even further now, another set of eyes. That’s been really good so far and I’m really looking forward to it continuing.”