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Eagles assistants: Sam Bradford is No. 1, but Carson Wentz must view it as competition

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo made it clear Wednesday that Sam Bradford is the Eagles' No. 1 quarterback, but both said that Carson Wentz should approach this offseason as if he is competing for the top job.

Reich clarified comments he made to WIP-FM last week suggesting there was still quarterback competition.

"I said there's order, and the order is Sam's No. 1, Chase [Daniel] is No. 2, and Carson is No. 3," Reich said Wednesday. "But you compete every day at practice. That's the same — Jason Peters is the No. 1 left tackle, and so on and so forth — and it's the same at every position. I would never change that. Sam's No. 1. Chase is No. 2. Carson is No. 3. And you compete every day."

Reich and DeFilippo said that each quarterback understands the roles. DeFilippo added that it helped the trio that coach Doug Pederson declared Bradford the starter, because it cleared up any ambiguity that could come when the starter is undetermined.

"The benefit of what we have is that our head coach stated very early who our starting quarterback is," DeFilippo said. "That kind of set the tone of where our mind-set is in the quarterback room at this point. There's hierarchy in the quarterback room. … Everyone knows where they're at, and I think everyone operates better when they know where they're at."

That doesn't mean the quarterbacks are content with the depth chart. When asked what Wentz's approach should be this spring and summer and into the season, Reich said Wentz needs to try to win the top spot. DeFilippo said all the quarterbacks must maintain the view that they'll be the starter.

"His perspective should be, 'I'm going to try to win the starting job,' " Reich said. "He can't not think that. He wouldn't be the No. 2 pick in the draft if he didn't think that. If he didn't think that, then we picked the wrong guy. Does it mean anything for the chemistry? No. …

"It's the same thing Sam felt when Sam was drafted with the No. 1 pick. It's the same thing Chase thinks. I promise you — Chase thinks he's going to be the starter Day 1, or thinks he's good enough to be the starter Day 1. And he's playing like it. He's playing good, too. It makes them all better. They push each other. And it makes the team better. That's just the bottom line. That's not going to change no matter what gets said anywhere, because you've got good people."

DeFilippo was offensive coordinator in Cleveland last year when the Browns started three quarterbacks: Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel, and Austin Davis. There were some Tuesdays when he came to work without knowing who the starting quarterback would be. So he's used to a quarterback controversy, and he has learned to tune out speculation that can surround the situations. He also knows it's better to have too many quarterbacks capable of starting than not enough.

In 2009, DeFilippo was on the New York Jets' staff when Mark Sanchez was a rookie. In 2014, he coached the Oakland Raiders quarterbacks when Derek Carr was a rookie. Both were Week 1 starters, which Wentz is not expected to be. But those experiences were helpful in understanding how to develop a touted rookie. DeFilippo said the key is "patience, patience, patience," along with "detail."

He has extra meetings with Wentz throughout the offseason program, and will plan for specific one-on-one sessions with Wentz during the season. But DeFilippo admitted that the attention is diverted come autumn.

"Once you get into season mode, it's all about the starter and getting him ready to play," DeFilippo said.

Reich drew on his experience as an NFL quarterback. He's seen this situation from both perspectives. He started 20 games in 13 seasons, but three of those games came in 1995 with Carolina while future franchise quarterback Kerry Collins waited his turn. Reich said the situation never affected his relationship with Collins, and the Panthers made clear to him than Collins would eventually get the starting job.

Even when Reich backed up Jim Kelly in Buffalo, he never curbed his competitive zeal about becoming a starter. He said outsiders must understand that competitiveness and desire to start is necessary to succeed as an NFL quarterback.

"That's what people don't understand — just because you have a future Hall of Famer in front of you, or just because you have a guy who's making X dollars, or was chosen in this round, it doesn't matter," Reich said. "It doesn't change you. You've got that fire inside you. That's part of what gets those guys on that field. … In this profession, that's a quality you need. That needs to be off the charts. You need to be off-the-charts hypercompetitive to make it at this level, to make it at a high level."