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Daniel's strong work ethic pays dividends


Although he was set to make his first start of the season, Chase Daniel didn't treat the days leading up to Thursday's game in Detroit any differently than any other week.

"I've seen that before, where you have guys that all of a sudden their routines change and the way they treat the week changes," said coach Matt Nagy. "You don't want that, and with Chase, you don't get that. You get the same thing every week."

Daniel prepares like he's going to start every game, and that approach helped him excel against the Lions despite not taking any full-speed reps leading up to the game. Because of the quick turnaround, the Bears conducted walkthroughs instead of regular practices.

"He didn't throw one route this week on time full speed," Nagy said. "Every route he threw was in a jog-through pace to these guys. The one good thing is, if you go back to the preseason when he had that game against the Chiefs, that's really the only opportunity that he had to get reps that really meant something."

In what was only the third start of his nine-year NFL career, Daniel helped lead the Bears to a 23-16 win over the Lions by completing 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns, no turnovers and a 106.8 passer rating.

"He was very comfortable," Nagy said. "He sees the field really well because he knows where to go with the football with coverages. We call him the 'Mike doctor' for making 'Mike' IDs with protections for a reason, because he sees things well."

Having had Nagy as his position coach with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013-15, Daniel has such a firm grasp of the offense that the Bears didn't have to alter their game plan with the career backup replacing injured starter Mitchell Trubisky.

"We didn't change anything," said running back Tarik Cohen. "We know Chase is definitely capable of handling everything that we can handle. We know from practice, see things he does, and we knew we had tremendous confidence in him."

Daniel is a valuable member of the Bears even when he doesn't play, given the guidance he provides Trubisky and other young players. But to quarterback the Bears to a key road win over a division opponent on a short week was gratifying to the veteran.

"It means a lot," Daniel said. "You don't know when these opportunities will come and you just have to make the most of them.

"At this point in [my] career it's really truly not about the money. It's about opportunities. And I felt really good about an opportunity here with coach Nagy to back up Mitch, to help groom him along. The job of a backup quarterback is to get the quarterback ready and to be prepared when your opportunity comes, and I felt like I do that pretty well."