Former Dragon QB, Super Bowl Champ to Compete for Starting Job in Philly
Mar 19, 2016 11:26AM ● Published by Kevin
"I don’t view myself as a backup quarterback and I think that I’d be lying to you if I told you that I signed this just wanting to be a backup quarterback,” Daniel told Howard Eskin on 94WIP's morning show last week.
The former Dragon, who played under Todd Dodge at Carroll from 2001-2005, has been on winning teams all of his life. He started at quarterback two years for the Dragons, earning his team a 31-1 record. He was on two 5A Division II state champion teams during his full tenure.
He went on to Missouri in 2005 to back up former NFL player Brad Smith (who last played for the Eagles in 2014 under Chip Kelly) his freshman year. He took the helm in 2006 and eventually entered the NFL Draft in 2009. During his time at Missouri, he was nominated for the Heisman Trophy twice, the Maxwell Award once, and the Unitas Award once. His senior season, he became the Missouri career total offense yardage leader on Dec. 6, with 13,256 yards, moving ahead of Smith. That year, the team finished No. 19 in the AP polls.
He went undrafted and landed on the Washington Redskins' practice squad, but was cut that September. He quickly rebounded to the New Orleans Saints practice squad, and then the active roster, all in the same month. However, he was waived the following month to free up a roster spot for former Carroll teammate Garrett Hartley, who was coming off a suspension. After a few more interactions with the team, he was reinstated to the active roster the following January, and was honored as a member of the Super Bowl champion team, despite never taking the field.
In 2013, Daniel signed with the Chiefs to back up former San Francisco 49er Alex Smith under long-time Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
Reid, a former quarterbacks coach with the Green Bay Packers, brought along his long-time protege, Doug Pederson as his offensive coordinator. Pederson was an assistant on Reid's staff in Philadelphia. Pederson and Reid's history is all too familiar, as the former quarterback was brought from Green Bay to Philadelphia to start while rookie Donovan McNabb learned the ropes in the NFL.
Daniel started his first NFL game against the San Diego Chargers in 2013, losing in overtime, 24-27. His next start came about a year later, but this time he led his team to victory, 19-7, over San Diego, eliminating the Bolts from the playoffs.
Pederson, who replaced Chip Kelly - who was named the 49ers head coach this offseason - in Philadelphia during the 2015 offseason, resigned Sam Bradford presumably to start for the Birds again in 2016. However, Daniel was signed shortly after, and hasn't been shy about his desires to be the offensive leader.
“It was really the opportunity to come in, know the offense, reunite with the Doug Pederson — who I have been with for three years and taught me a lot about the quarterback position,” Daniel told Eskin. “It was really that opportunity that I was cherishing and felt good about.
“From a leadership perspective, everyone can come to me,” Daniel said. “I’ve been in the offense for three years now, so I know all the ins and outs, all the knicks and crannys. It took me two, two and a half years, to really feel comfortable in the offense. So I feel like a coach out there on the field, almost.”
Daniel is at least slated for the backup role at this point, since former Eagle and New York Jet Mark Sanchez was traded to Denver for an unconditional draft pick in 2017. Sanchez has his own opportunity to start in Denver after Peyton Manning's retirement and assumed successor Brock Osweiler's departure for Houston.
This isn't the first time Daniel has aimed for the starting role. He told members of the Philadelphia media at his introductory press conference that he was in Drew Brees' ear during his time in New Orleans.
"I was a second-year pro, he's a future hall of famer and I'm telling him every single day when I'm the backup: 'I'm coming for your job, dude. I don't care if you're Drew Brees. I don't care who you are,'" he said. "My mindset isn't going to change. Drew and I are the best of friends, to this day. It brought out the best of us. It made us closer and it made the team better."