Chase Daniel has a chance to upset the Bears’ apple cart — in a good way
If he plays well against the Raiders in London on Sunday, there will be even more public discussion about which quarterback is best for a team with a Super Bowl-ready defense. And there’s already a lot.
It’s usually not a good thing for a team when a backup quarterback moves into the starting lineup. It means the regular starter, the one paid the big bucks, is sick, hurt, missing or terribly ineffective.
A backup QB, meanwhile, is like a plumber’s helper. You know you need one, but you try to hide it from the guests.
So why do I feel so good about backup Chase Daniel starting in place of the injured Mitch Trubisky on Sunday? Part of it is that I wonder if the Bears would be better this season with Daniel prudently running the show.
And part of it is the sheer spectacle of it. The Bears have put all their apples in Trubisky’s basket, and here’s Daniel with a chance to upset the Bears’ apple cart, in a good way.
The higher-ups would scoff at the very idea of a quarterback controversy: Mitch, the guy they took with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft vs. Chase, the guy with four NFL starts to his name in 10 seasons? Really? A controversy? Pfft.
Trust me, if Daniel plays well against the Raiders in London on Sunday, there will be even more public discussion about which quarterback is best for a team with a Super Bowl-ready defense. And there’s already a lot of it.
Daniel’s stats in a victory over the Vikings last week were excellent in terms of completion percentage (73.3) and meh in terms of yardage (195). But the numbers miss the point, as they often do. He was a clear improvement over Trubisky in terms of field vision and confidence. And he showed off all that against Minnesota, which has one of the best defenses in the league.
If Daniel goes into Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and struggles Sunday, then we’ll have our answer. It will be Trubisky, forever and ever, amen (um, possibly).
But until then, well, let’s enjoy the debate.
Putting a backup quarterback into the starting lineup would seem to be a roll of the dice. Not in this case. If anything, there’s more mystery involved with a Trubisky start than there is with a Daniel start. The Bears might want to keep that in mind going forward.
If Daniel is what he appears to be – efficient and unflappable – would he be the better choice going forward than Trubisky, who has been predictably unpredictable in his 30 starts as a Bear? Especially in what could be a special season?
We’ll probably never know the answer because of the franchise’s devotion to Mitch. But we have Sunday’s game to see if Daniel can make the Bears’ decision-makers tilt their heads and say, “Hmmmm.’’ I do find it interesting that in a sport in which everything from a quarterback’s release time to how long an offensive lineman holds his block is measured, the Bears seem to have no appetite for measuring which quarterback gives them a better opportunity to win a Super Bowl in 2019.
We all get it: They’ve invested heavily in Trubisky. And the last thing coach Matt Nagy wants to do is even acknowledge the possibility of a quarterback competition. He has spent the past 21 months publicly coddling his young quarterback. He knows Trubisky takes everything to heart.
Aren’t coaches constantly preaching the wonders of competition? If Daniel gives the Bears the best chance of winning, isn’t that what it’s all about? It’s very possible he isn’t what’s best for the Bears, but let’s find out now. We already know what Trubisky can and can’t do. If you want a caretaker quarterback, a game manager, someone who keeps the mistakes to a minimum, that would seem to be Daniel. If you believe you can win a Super Bowl this season while Trubisky continues to develop (or not develop), then you go with him.
But the fact that there’s so much interest in what Daniel will do Sunday tells you that it’s still very much a delicious question – no matter what the Bears’ brain trust thinks.
The team has a bye after the Raiders game. My guess is that general manager Ryan Pace really, really wants Trubisky’s injured left shoulder to be healed by the next game, against the Saints on Oct. 20. More Daniel would mean more public debate and outcry, provided he plays well Sunday. So don’t be surprised if Pace looks under every medical rock looking for a faster cure for Trubisky. Don’t rule out a faith healer.
All of this will go away with a bad Daniel performance in London. He started two games last season for an injured Trubisky. He was very good one week and not good at all the next.
He was good last week and … what about Sunday in London?
This should be good.