It might be our last chance to see Chase Daniel this year. It might be our last chance to see McLeod Bethel-Thompson ever.
With Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz not scheduled to play, Daniel and Bethel-Thompson will quarterback the Eagles for their entire preseason finale Thursday night vs. the Jets at the Linc.
Head coach Doug Pederson said Daniel will start and play most or all of the first half, with Bethel-Thompson playing the rest of the game.
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Daniel, who played under Pederson and Andy Reid backing up Alex Smith in Kansas City the last three years, said he looks forward to starting a game as opposed to coming in cold in relief of Bradford.
“You’re warm right away, right?” he said. “You’re not sitting on the sideline, your back’s not tightening up the entire half and then you’re trying to get warmed up for the second half.
“It’s good. I’m excited about it. I have some starting experience, whether it’s preseason or two or three games here and there during my career, so it flows a little bit more smooth.
“You’re warmed up, you’re ready to go, your juices are flowing, your adrenaline is rushing, you don’t have to be not sure when you’re going in, you know you’re going to be out there starting the game and you’re going to come out firing.”
Daniel has been increasingly sharper in each preseason game and was 9-for-12 for 104 yards and a touchdown pass to David Watford against the Colts in Indy on Saturday night.
With the starters out of the picture, he’ll be throwing the ball to people like Cayleb Jones, Marcus Johnson, Paul Turner and Watford, guys who are desperate to make one last impression on the Eagles, as well as get good film on tape for other teams.
Daniel said his message to those guys is to just relax, enjoy the game and don’t think about the big picture.
“Go out there and have fun,” he said. “That’s the No. 1 thing. I think sometimes we as players put so much pressure on ourselves to go out there an perform. Looking back at my career, the best I’ve ever played is when I just go out there and have fun, sling the ball around and just be loose.
“Be that person the guys on the field (people) can look at and say, ‘Hey, he’s cool, calm and collected,’ and so are we. And we just go and move the ball.
“It’s all about having fun out there. We’re going to have a blast. A lot of these guys haven’t started in their careers before, they’re going to get a chance to put it on film, put it on tape, which is very important, because there’s 31 other teams, along with the Eagles, who are going to be looking at that tape come Friday.”
Bethel-Thompson, whose grandfather Moose Thompson was the 1948 Olympic shot put champion, is in his sixth season trying to make a roster. He’s spent time with the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena League and the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL — both now defunct — as well as stints with the 49ers, Dolphins, Vikings, 49ers again, Patriots, Vikings again, Dolphins again, 49ers again and now the Eagles.
He’s 28 and still at it.
“This is my Super Bowl,” he said. “For all of us young guys, this is our Super Bowl. This is make it or break it.
“We’re all trying to find a spot and if you don’t make it now, you may never get another shot. You never know. So you’ve always got to play every game when you’re on the bottom of the roster like it may be your last NFL game. And that’s a humbling feeling but it also makes you hungry.”
Bethel-Thompson has only thrown five passes in the three preseason game, so Thursday night will mark by far his longest preseason stint this summer.
“It’s the ultimate advantage,” he said. “You never get into that quote-unquote rhythm if you just have a series here, a series there. You don’t get into the flow of the game.
“But I’m used to that. Taking reps in practice, that’s what you’re used to. Just jump in and be ready.
“But this one I’m looking forward to because I’ll be able to play hopefully a little bit more, get into a rhythm, get into the lather of the game, get used to the speed.
“I’m very much looking forward to playing a bunch. Put good tape out there and learn from my mistakes the last couple years and pull from my successes.
“Doesn’t matter if it’s here or anywhere else, you just want to show what you’ve been taught, have a good performance and be proud of what you put on the field.
“It’s a mental exercise every day when you don’t get the reps necessarily every day, but I definitely feel like mentally I’ve improved a whole bunch.
“I don’t feel like I’ve shown it yet, but hopefully that’s what the game is for.”