Eagles coach Doug Pederson didn’t hesitate to clear things up Thursday in a press conference to discuss Philly’s busy week on the free agency, and trade front.
Sam Bradford is the starter.
“Sam Bradford is the No. 1, Chase Daniel is the No. 2, we are still looking for our No. 3,” Pederson said (later admitting that Mark Sanchez’ future is being “evaluated”).
In the face of prevailing rumors Wednesday that Daniel and Bradford would be competing for the starting role, Pederson said that even though Daniel is making a lot of money — $21 million over three years with $12 million guaranteed –he’s still a back up.
“Having an opportunity to compete, having an opportunity to be a solid No. 2, we are very fortunate,” the coach said. “Just like we had in Kansas City, with Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, what a great tandem we had. Every confidence level we had there if something were to happen to the starter we knew Chase could go in and do the job for us.”
Pederson wants to push Bradford and make him prove he deserves to be Philadelphia’s starter, even though he is the presumptive player to hold that role. And he thinks that mentality will get the best from the quarterback — who signed a two-year, $36 million deal ($26 million guaranteed) last week.
“It’s clearly defined right now,” Pederson said. “The one thing we are going to continue to do is improve our roster. Competition — iron sharpens iron — the quarterback position is not exempt from that. You have to create opportunities for your guys to compete against other guys. And then you’ll put the best 11 on the field.”
Daniel buys in, saying that he believes excellence comes from backups who are gunning for the starters. It’s what he did with Drew Brees in New Orleans and Smith in Kansas City, while playing for then-offensive coordinator and close friend Pederson.And even though he understands Bradford is ahead in the depth chart, he still felt drawn to the Eaglesorganization.
“I did have other offers,” Daniel said Thursday.”At the end of the day I felt that this organization along with the leadership provided me the best opportunity to play some football.
“It’s the Philadelphia Eagles, man, it’s something special.”
And while some ambiguity remains among other positional hierarchies, Pederson did not mince words when it came to his signal-callers.
“The quarterback is the key to the kingdom,” the coach said. “I felt it was in our best interest to be up front and formal with that position.”