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O'HARA: Daniel looking forward to learning Bevell's offense

Chase Daniel already has shown that he can quarterback a team in a playoff race to a victory at Ford Field.

Unfortunately, he did that at the expense of his new team, the Detroit Lions.

Daniel, who has agreed to contract terms with the Lions to be the backup to starter Matthew Stafford, led the Chicago Bears to a 23-16 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving Day in 2018.

Starting because of an injury to Mitchell Trubisky, Daniel completed 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating for the game was 106.8.

Daniel showed preparedness, patience and poise to manage the game – all important qualities for backup quarterbacks to have productive careers.

"I remember it being a big game," Daniel said Monday evening in a conference-call interview with the Detroit media.

"I remember getting zero reps with the starters (during a short practice week). It was a fun week. It was a quick week. That obviously helped me going out and executing. I didn't think a lot."

Daniel also remembers the wrinkles Lions head coach Matt Patricia threw at him defensively to try to confuse him.

"I just remember during the game him definitely throwing some wrinkles at me that I hadn't seen," Daniel said. "It was a close game. It was a back and forth game. I'm glad we won."

Daniel and Stafford already have a connection from growing up in the Dallas area. Both were prolific high school quarterbacks.

Both went on to be highly regarded college players – Stafford at Georgia, and Daniel at Missouri, where he finished fourth in the 2007 Heisman Trophy voting.

The similarity ended when they entered the NFL. Stafford was drafted first overall by the Lions and has spent his entire career as the Lions' starter. Daniel was undrafted. He spent the 2009 season on the Saints' practice squad.

Daniel made the Saints' 53-player roster in 2010. The 2020 season will be his 12th in the NFL. He spent four seasons with the Saints (2010-12), three with the Chiefs (2013-15), one with the Eagles (2016), a one-year return to the Saints (2017) and the last two with the Bears (2018-19).

He will learn a new offense under Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. In his previous 10 seasons Daniel played in offenses with roots based on either Saints' head coach Sean Payton's scheme or Chiefs head coach Andy Reid's.

Daniel liked what he saw in Bevell's offense before Stafford went out for the season with a back injury after the eighth game.

"I'm very excited to learn a new scheme, to learn Bev's scheme," Daniel said. "Their offense, they were slinging it, man. Matt was firing on all cylinders."

View photos of quarterback Chase Daniel. Photos courtesy Associated Press.

Daniel has started only five regular-season games. He has completed 149 of 218 passes for 1,430 yards, seven TDs and five interceptions.

He is known around the NFL for his football IQ. That and his work ethic has kept him in the league.

He has already renewed his connection with Stafford.

"We already talked quite a bit about the offense," Daniel said.

"I take the job really seriously. First and foremost, when you get your opportunity you have to play, and you have to win. You have to help the starter in any way possible that he needs help.

"I'm not coming here to take anyone's job. Matthews's the starter. I also have to get myself ready week in and week out. There's a lot of preparation mentally."

It's a new offseason for everyone because of the coronavirus. Daniel said he doesn't expect teams to have any offseason program, which means players won't begin working together on the field until training game.

"I think it's highly unlikely we have an offseason program," Daniel said. "I think there'll be a lot of digital time. It's going to be difficult. I already asked for the playbook. You'll have a lot of guys having to study, getting into their playbook.

"That's a whole different thing if you're not able to do it physically."

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