LAKE FOREST – It’s an interesting existence for any National Football League quarterback, and the one that Chase Daniel has lived from the moment he joined the Bears.
It was actually the case with two stops with the Saints, one in Kansas City, and a year with the Eagles.
For Daniel, the best case scenario for any one of his situations was to never see the field. If he gets the chance to play, that usually means something went wrong. It’s the odd life of a backup, but it’s one the Bears’ second-stringer has embraced during a journeyman NFL career in the position.
He’s embraced it, making clear at his introductory news conference at Halas Hall back in March that his first goal was to get the starter ready before saying his second was to be ready to fill in.
As the latter transpired on Tuesday, with Mitchell Trubisky landing on the injury report with a shoulder injury, Daniel brought that point from his first meeting with the media to the one in the locker room at Halas Hall.
While duty No. 1 is always to help the starter, the Bears’ backup asserted the fact that he’s prepared to be effective in that role as Trubisky remains “Day-to-Day” heading towards the Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions in Detroit.
“I really haven’t changed the way I’ve prepared,” said Daniel on Tuesday as he took the snaps with the first team with Trubisky out of practice. “I prepare like a starter every week. For me, it’s just another game.”
Preparations wise, perhaps, but in reality, it’s not.
While Daniel has been a well-respected teammate in the quarterback room, he hasn’t seen the field as the main signal caller much in the last four years. He’s thrown just three passes since the 2015 season – completing them all – and didn’t throw a pass last season in his one regular season appearance. His last start came in Week 17 for the Chiefs against the Chargers.
He did his job that day – completing 16-of-27 passes for 157 passes in a 19-7 win over San Diego – and the person whom Daniel did if for mattered.
During his three seasons in Kansas City, his quarterbacks coach was Matt Nagy, the current head coach of the Chicago Bears. It gave him the opportunity to get a thorough knowledge of the complicated scheme introduced by Andy Reid with the Chiefs and then continued to Chicago when Nagy took the job last year.
Daniel may not have taken starters reps in a couple of years, but his mind is game-ready.
“It was the same offense that I was in for five years for me, and it’s mostly the same plays. We’ve got some tweaks here and there, obviously the personnel. I know the offense like the back of my hand, right. It’s the fifth or sixth year going in the league in this offense.
“So there is a very good comfort level there, so I don’t see that being an issue at all.”
Neither does Nagy, who sung the praises of Daniel of ways on Tuesday, and is overly confident he’ll be ready for the Lions if needed.
“The number one thing that you learn about Chase when you’re around him is that, in a really good way, is that he’s extremely confident in the way that he plays because he’s so smart,” said Nagy of Daniel. “The game is not fast to him when he plays. The other thing with Chase, which I’ve always appreciated, is the fact that he prepares every game like he’s the starter.
“If his time does come, he doesn’t blink.”
Don’t expect him to should he get his first start in four years on Thursday. He’s got a pretty good rapport with his boss which should help him do the job.
“If it comes to that (starting on Thursday), we trust each other pretty well,” said Daniel of Nagy. “We know what each other likes and I think we would just roll.”