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Early signs point to backup QB Daniel starting again for Bears

November 29, 2018

Early indications are that backup QB Chase Daniel will get a second straight start when the Bears travel to New Jersey to face the Giants on Sunday.

Mitch Trubisky did not throw at Wednesday’s practice, while Daniel took all the full-speed practice reps with the first team. That’s something he was unable to do in his first start, which came on Thanksgiving Day, just four days after Trubisky suffered the shoulder injury that has him sidelined. The Bears were limited to scaled-down, walk-through practices last week, which didn’t prevent Daniel from an impressive performance in the 23-16 victory.

In just his third career start in nine years, and his first in four years, Daniel posted a passer rating of 106.8, completing 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards with two TD passes and no interceptions. On Wednesday at Halas Hall, he talked as if he was the starter.

“It’ll be good to actually get some timing down with the receivers and tight ends and running backs, although I thought it was pretty good last week, too, for not really taking a full-speed rep all week,” Daniel said. “There’s always stuff you can grow on. I’m a perfectionist, so what I try to do is look at the negatives of the game and try to improve on it.

“There were 10 incompletions; some of those should’ve been completions. Four sacks; too many, those were all on me. So you just constantly try to be a perfectionist. That’s how I am and how I was raised, just try to play the best game possible, and with practice, we can continue to do that.”

As efficient as Daniel was, the Bears’ offense was hardly prolific, managing just 264 yards, its second-lowest total of the season, and the winning score came on S Eddie Jackson’s 41-yard interception return.

Coach Matt Nagy said the game plan vs. the Lions did not change with Trubisky out of the starting lineup for the first time this year. But a full week of practice should only help Daniel’s timing within the offense and with his receivers -- if he starts again.

“If that’s the route we end up going, he’s going to get more reps, vs. what he went through (last week),” Nagy said. “That was hard. That was all (just) mental (reps). Then you go into the game, and now we’re expecting guys to be throwing great, accurate passes all over the field. I don’t know if that’s necessarily realistic.”

Nagy’s decision for this week is made easier by Daniel’s performance against the Lions. But the Bears’ coach said it’s Trubisky’s health and what’s best for the long-term future of the young quarterback and the team as a whole that are the key concerns. Nagy’s comfort level with Daniel is the result of coaching him for three years when both were with the Chiefs.

“You don’t want this situation,” Nagy said. “But when you’re in a situation (like) we had last week, you feel very confident. (Daniel) did not have one rep with the guys last week, and we didn’t change anything. We went into the same game plan, not knowing exactly what was going to go on.

“But for my history with Chase and the relationship that I have with him, he’s always been almost like a little bit of an assistant coach to us as well. He’s been great at that, but (he) has the ability to step in and make coaches feel very comfortable that (we) can win games with him at quarterback.”

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