Chase Daniel has been praised for how he's helped Mitchell Trubisky learn the Bears' new offense, but the backup quarterback is much more than a mentor.
Daniel is also a valuable insurance policy at the most important position on the field, something the 10-year NFL veteran proved Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field.
Playing the entire first half with Trubisky and most of the Bears' starters watching from the sideline, Daniel completed 15 of 18 passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and a stellar 149.5 passer rating in a 27-20 win over the Chiefs.
"For me, this is a little bit expected," Daniel said. "I'm expecting myself to do this week-in and week-out. I try to prepare as the starter every single week, whether it's practice, whether it's for the scout team, whether it's getting first-team reps, whatever I'm doing, watching film.
"To me, it's like I'm preparing for a start. You're one play away, so you never know when that's going to happen. That's just how I've really based my whole career off of."
In a good spot: Daniel's favorite target was rookie receiver Javon Wims, who caught four passes for a game-high 114 yards and one touchdown.
"He's in a good spot," said coach Matt Nagy. "He's a young kid. He's trying to hammer down the details of this offense. He's got really natural hands. He's a nice-sized kid. He's got good confidence, really great hands and really great route-running. He's doing well. That's important for us right now. That's a depth position. He's growing and he's a hell of a route runner as well."
A seventh-round draft pick from Georgia, Wims turned a short pass into a 54-yard gain, made an outstanding 7-yard touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone and hauled in a 44-yard pass down the right sideline.
"When he knows what he's doing and can play fast, he's a stud now," Daniel said. "I think he's really just starting to get to that point where the offense is clicking for him. He's not thinking out there. He's playing fast.
"Same for [fellow receiver] Kevin White, as you saw today. They feel comfortable in the offense. A lot of the stuff that we're installing is maybe just variations of different plays we had, so they feel comfortable with it and I think that's the key. When they're playing fast and they know what they're doing—as you saw today—it's pretty cool."
Working hard: White caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Daniel, burning cornerback Orlando Scandrick with a tantalizing stutter-step/double move.
"For Kevin, he's put in so much work," Nagy said. "I root for underdogs. I love underdogs. When you have an underdog that fights his tail off to improve, and when people don't believe in him and he proves the people that do believe in him right, then there's nothing better than that.
"Yeah, it was one play. We've got to evaluate the rest of his play. But I was really happy that he was able to get that touchdown at home in front of his home fans. He worked hard for that."
Welcome back: Although it was a brief appearance, receiver Taylor Gabriel made his preseason debut Saturday, catching a 10-yard pass on the game's first play from scrimmage. The veteran wideout had missed the Bears' first three preseason contests with a foot injury.
"It felt good to be out there, just to be out there with my brothers," Gabriel said. "We've been grinding all week, going over a few details. It was just good to get out there and see the ball. It felt good. I'm glad I got out there."
Roster notes: The only Bears players listed with the first team on the depth chart who started Saturday were Gabriel, left guard Eric Kush, defensive end Jonathan Bullard and inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.
Bears who did not play included Trubisky; running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen; receivers Allen Robinson II, Joshua Bellamy and Anthony Miller; tight ends Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Dion Sims; offensive linemen Charles Leno Jr., Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie, Brandon Greene and Jordan Morgan; defensive end Akiem Hicks; nose tackle Eddie Goldman; outside linebackers Leonard Floyd, Sam Acho and Aaron Lynch; inside linebackers Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, Jonathan Anderson and Josh Woods; cornerbacks Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper Sr., Bryce Callahan and Rashard Fant; and safeties Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos and DeAndre Houston-Carson.