LAKE FOREST – In the final minutes of another Bears’ loss in the 2019 season, he found himself in the middle of one of the more bizarre moments of the last three months.
With Mitchell Trubisky pulled from the game due to a hip injury, which was a mystery until a few minutes after the change was made, Chase Daniel found himself trying to lead a late comeback against the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Down by ten points and backed up deep in his own territory, the backup was up against it, and in four plays he couldn’t get a first down to keep hope alive in a 17-7 loss to Los Angeles. Since then, many have wondered about the health of Trubisky, and if his pulling from the game was more about performance than pain.
Matt Nagy has insisted it was the latter, and so is the quarterback that took over for him on Sunday. He was insistent that Trubisky was hurting, and also that he was getting himself ready in the second half in the event that the hip issues would become too much for his fellow signal-caller.
“I sorta saw when the hit happened, so I started and then so I just started getting a little bit more loose, stretching a little bit more on the sideline, throwing a little bit more. So I was not surprised when I went in; it got to a point where it was pretty bad,” said Daniel of Trubisky’s hip injury. “We knew at halftime that he wasn’t feeling his best. He gutted it out. I mean, you saw it, first drive, coming out of the half, we were rolling, scored a touchdown; obviously big 3rd-and-10 redzone conversion touchdown to Tarik (Cohen)
“It just tightened up on him. You play a three-and-a-half-hour long game, it’s bound to happen.”
Because of that, Daniel is now an uncommon yet not completely foreign position during his time with the Bears the last year-and-a-half. Having replaced Trubisky five times in since the start of the 2018 season, including that last series on Sunday night, the veteran backup is once again preparing in case the hip pointer keeps the starter out of Sunday’s contest against the Giants.
That’s put Daniel in the position of preparing while at the same time providing support to the embattled quarterback who has struggled the majority of his third season. Trubisky has been unable to get any offensive rhythm going as he’s failed to throw for over 300 yards in a game, gaining just 1,580 yards in nine games with nine touchdowns compared to four interceptions and a low quarterback rating of 82.2.
On Thursday, Daniel continued to stand by the quarterback whom he may fill in for on Sunday, praising his ability to stay level-headed to a rough 4-6 season so far for the Bears.
“He’s been pretty even-keeled through everything we’ve been through this year sorta as a whole, as an offense, and a team. I think that’s pretty good, I think that’s personal growth on his part,” said Daniel when asked how Trubisky has handled his struggles in 2019. “It’s tough, man. It’s the National Football League, week in and week out, you’ve got to perform at a high level, in a market like this, regardless if you do good or you do bad, right? If you do good, you’re going to get too much praise. If you’re bad, you’re going to get too much blame.
“That’s just how it is. That’s the quarterback and the head coach, especially in Chicago. He realized that he understands that. He just cares so much and he wants to make plays so bad that he feels like he let the team down when he doesn’t play to his standard.”
Maybe Trubisky will get another shot for redemption this Sunday, and the odds look to be in his favor after being a full participant in the first two practices of the Giants’ week. If Daniel’s accounts from Thursday’s practice are correct, that may very well be the case.
“He’s moving around well. He’s throwing the ball really well. I actually told him, and this is not; I wasn’t just trying to build his confidence up, but I told him I thought today he threw the ball as best as I’ve ever seen him on a Thursday – and that’s the facts. That’s 100 percent truth, and I think our whole team felt that today. He had something else about him today; a pop to him, whatever it might be.
“Not that he didn’t always have that, but it just looked really good today and it felt good. We didn’t have many balls on the ground today.”
Now Daniel hopes that happens Sunday afternoon, and expect the backup quarterback to have Trubisky’s back if he does take the field.