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Life as back-up quarterback isn't for everyone

Posted Sep 2, 2016

So long as the NFL are drug-testing players, somebody might want to ask Chase Daniel what on earth he has been smoking.

The 29-year-old quarterback has been around the league long enough to know how things work in pro football.

He has spent seven seasons bouncing from New Orleans to Kansas City and now on to Philadelphia. He has spent most of his career on the sideline rather than out in the middle but that experience surely should have taught him to expect what came his way on Monday and accept it a little more level-headedly.

Over the weekend the Eagles stunned many an observer by trading away starting quarterback Sam Bradford, with the first game of the season only a week away.

Bradford, a former overall No.1 draft pick, was living on borrowed time in the city of brotherly love ever since the team traded up in April to select Carson Wentz with the second overall selection in this year's draft.

Whenever you make that sort of move and the kind of investment they have made in time and money on the rookie from North Dakota State, it is not because you want to speculate. It is because you are 100 per cent sold on a player and you intend to back him to the hilt and go all-in.

Daniel had spent the summer thinking he might be back-up to Bradford, at least for as long as it was going to take Wentz to get up to speed. And with a rookie quarterback having to absorb a huge amount these days to make the transition from college to pro, maybe he figured that would take Wentz at least a season.

So when Bradford packed his bags and headed off to Minneapolis, Daniel assumed that was good news for him. Until the Eagles named Wentz as the starter for this weekend's opener, despite the fact he was an injury doubt.

Daniel was reported to be "extremely upset" over the team's decision but surely that is frustration talking rather than common sense.

In seven NFL seasons, Daniel has started two games. He has thrown one touchdown pass. What would give him the idea that he was going to start in front of a guy who the Eagles have ear-marked as their future? What would make him think any team had seen enough in the past seven years to convince them that he should start ahead of the guy they are pinning all their hopes and dreams on?

I understand his desire to be something more than a No.2 and that is admirable. He will also be acutely aware that at 29, there won't be many more chances that will present themselves.

However, like the vice-president, he should also understand that while his role may seem somewhat lame, he is only a heartbeat away from taking over. And with an unproven rookie at the controls, that is a real possibility.

Wentz, like any other football player, could easily be injured and out for a day, a month or a season, especially with a target on his back at quarterback. But there is also the distinct likelihood that his learning curve is steep and the team decide to take him out before his head goes to pieces.

In 1983, Denver had the No.1 overall pick in John Elway and they decided to start him straight away. He got pulled and replaced by wise old head Steve DeBerg. It happened again soon after and then again, at which point the Broncos decided to go with DeBerg for the rest of the season in an attempt to ease Elway in. That plan worked out fine for 16 seasons and five trips to the Super Bowl for Denver under Elway.

It also worked out okay for DeBerg, who managed to remind people he was still a player with something to give. He went on to play for Tampa Bay, Miami, Atlanta and most notably Kansas City, where he started and led them to the playoffs twice.

Once injuries and poor form take hold, how many of the league's 32 starting QBs in week one will end up starting all 16 games? Some of them might not even make it to week two.

However the season pans out, there will be plenty of No.2s who will get their chance and the likelihood that Wentz will be one of those that suffers will be fairly high, given his rookie status.

Rather than stamp his foot like a child that didn't get his way, Daniel should wise up and be ready to grasp his opportunity with both hands if it comes along.

Wentz is the future of the Eagles. No question there. But Daniel may get thrown a bone this season, presenting him with a chance to remind other teams that he can play and may be worth a gamble next season.

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As if the week three game between Washington and the NY Giants wasn't going to be feisty enough, Josh Norman just put the icing on the cake.

Giants receiver Odell Beckham took aim at the Redskins cornerback a few weeks ago, essentially saying that Norman rides his coat tails to publicity.

Now, on the eve of the season, Norman has finally responded.

"Every time I see him, I'm going to hit him in the mouth. I don't care. Until he stops crying and bitching."

What are these guys going to be like come the week of the game? Now that Norman has moved from the Panthers, they are playing in the same division, which will only intensify their bitter rivalry.

What makes it mouth-watering, though, is not just the way they like to go at each other verbally. Any two big mouths can do that. It is the fact that they can both back it up between the lines. These are two outstanding athletes and footballers. And now we get to see them duel twice each season, maybe even a third time in the playoffs.

Roll on week three!

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