When the Chicago Bears signed Chase Daniel to a free agent contract this offseason, his main priorities were simple enough:
- Get Mitch Trubisky up-to-speed with Matt Nagy’s offense
- Prepare Trubisky for game day to the fullest extent
- Be prepared for action when called upon
You’d have to say that Daniel has handled his first two duties almost flawlessly to this point. Trubisky has shown a better grasp of Nagy’s system with each passing week and it’s not as if QB1 has looked unprepared. But on Thursday, Daniel is expected to face his biggest test as he is expected to be called upon to start on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions.
Daniel discussed that possibility and more on Tuesday. We’ve selected some highlights and added commentary where we thought it would be helpful. Enjoy!
No Reps, No Problem?
Because Trubisky’s development has been at the forefront of everything the Bears have done in 2018, there hasn’t been much time for Daniel to get practice reps with the first-team offense. So unlike last year when Trubisky slowly chipped away at Mike Glennon’s practice time with the first unit, Daniel has solely worked with the reserves. And while that’s a notable challenge as he prepares for the possibility of starting on Thursday, Daniel isn’t worried.
“I haven’t gotten any (first-team reps), but it’s the same offense that I was in for five years, and it’s mostly the same plays. We’ve got some tweaks here and there and obviously different personnel, but I know the offense like the back of my hand. It’s the fifth or sixth year going on in the league in this offense, so there’s a very good comfort level, so I don’t see that being an issue.”
Knowledge is power. And while Daniel sure looked like he knew what he was doing in the preseason, applying the knowledge is never as easy as one might suspect.
Practice (Against the Best) Makes Perfect
Not only does Daniel not get to practice with the first-team offense, he finds himself working against the Bears’ top-tier defense. As the scout team quarterback, Daniel gets to face the likes of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson and the rest of the monsters who cause havoc for opposing offenses. Doesn’t that sound like a treat.
“I think we have the best defense in the league, I see it every day in practice. You see Khalil rushing full speed. You’ve got our back-end like that, the linebackers … it’s something that if I were to play, it’s for sure prepared me. I’m going against the best defense in the league in practice every single day.”
So I guess Daniel should be well-prepared for what a first-team defense (one that isn’t as good as the one he faces in practice) will throw at him, right?
You’re always just one play away from jumping into the line of fire when you’re the backup quarterback, and Daniel sounded ready to hop in when Trubisky was slow to get up after taking the late hit from Harrison Smith that caused the shoulder injury. Talk about being Johnny-on-the-spot.
“When he got up sort of holding his shoulder, obviously in your mind as a backup you start throwing the football just to be ready, just in case. But I think it’s feeling better as the week progresses, so whatever happens you know I’ll be ready and he’ll be ready if that’s the case as well.”
It’s a role Daniel has played for quite some time, so you know he’s familiar with it.
A part of me starting to think Daniel is a more likely candidate to start. And while I’d rather see the Bears go to battle with a healthy Trubisky, Daniel’s preparedness could come in handy.
“This week is a little bit different just because it’s a short week, but I really haven’t changed the way I’ve prepared. I prepare like a starter every week, so for me, it’s just another game.”
That’s a good mentality to have.
You can watch Daniel’s entire media session below.