It happens quickly in the NFL: One moment you're the starter, the next you're not even dressing and may not dress for weeks, if at all.
That's Danny Watkins' tale. The Eagles top draft pick was the starting right guard a little over a week ago. Now he's on the bench and wasn't even active in the opener against the Rams on Sunday. According to everyone involved in the decision -- including the rookie -- it was the prudent move.
"I don't think relieved is the right word," Watkins said Monday at the NovaCare Complex a day after the Eagles toppled St. Louis, 31-13. "Obviously, I'm chomping at the bit to get out there. I want to go out there when I'm 100 percent, mentally and physically prepared. I think physically it's there, but mentally I just need to continue to get the reps."
Watkins started all through the preseason, but was replaced by Kyle DeVan last Monday, just a day after the Eagles picked the former Colt up off waivers. With so many new pieces on the offensive line, that also included moving Todd Herremans from left guard to right tackle, Eagles coach Andy Reid couldn't further risk injury to quarterback Michael Vick.
"I think that Danny's had a huge weight lifted off his shoulders by this," Herremans said. "Obviously, he's not happy with it. He wants to be playing. He may feel like he's letting the team down."
While he has only played organized football for four years, Watkins has never sat. It will be hard for him to win his spot back just on the practice field. DeVan appeared to play well against St. Louis, but Watkins needs to be ready in case of injury. Although, the Eagles may be more inclined to move center Jason Kelce over to right guard and put Jamaal Jackson in at center before sticking Watkins back in there.
"DeVan knows the offense. He’s a veteran player," Reid said. "Danny’s day will come. He’s a talented kid. There is too much catchup there.”
Watkins said he wants to play, but not at the expense of Vick.
"For sure, but I also don't want to be getting No. 7 hit," he said.