Photo: John Rieger USA TODAY Sports
St. Joseph, MO - When the Kansas City Chiefs signed former Missouri Tiger Quarterback, Chase Daniel, in the offseason, he came back to the Midwest after spending most of his NFL career in the big easy playing for the Saints. So how does he feel about going back to New Orleans Friday night to face his old team?
In late February the big secret was out, the Kansas City Chiefs were going to acquire former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Alex Smith. But what fans didn’t know was the new Head Coach Andy Reid was going to jettison KC’s former starter, Matt Cassel.
So that meant someone had to back up Alex Smith? To find out, Chiefs fans had to wait until the onset of free agency when the Chiefs signed the former Missouri Tiger standout to a three-year contract.
Daniel’s arrival in Kansas City materialized after serving four seasons as Drew Brees backup in New Orleans. Though he didn’t see much action playing in front of a future Hall of Fame entry, Daniel certainly learned a few things about playing quarterback in the NFL.
After all, he and Brees are relatively the same size, have similar arm strength and can run a west coast offense. But to this point in Daniel’s career that’s about all the comparisons you can make between he and Brees. In Kansas City, Daniel gets to come back to the Midwest, and will no doubt, have the best coaching of his professional career under Reid and his offensive coaches.
But what he does with that coaching, likely won’t be learned unless Smith goes down with an injury. Right now Daniel is the back up quarterback, at least on the first depth chart. But to lock that position down long term, the former Tiger has to show off his skills in running Reid’s offense as if he were Smith.
And what better place to begin his assault as Alex Smith’s back-up then the place he called home the last four seasons.
”I’m excited to get back there and see all the fans that were so loyal to us for the four years I was there. See old teammates, the coaches, see everybody. So it will be fun,” Daniel said.
And going back to a team and city that was hit hard by the NFL after the Bounty scandal, something Daniel had to endure as well, should put some closure on the experience on his former players and especially his former head coach, Sean Payton.
”It’s Sean Payton’s first game really in like two years. The New Orleans fans love their football and it doesn’t matter if it’s preseason, offseason, Super Bowl, regular season, it doesn’t matter. They’re going to be out in full force, and it’s going to be loud,” Daniel stated.
Though Daniel wasn’t part of the scandal he did learn a few things that could serve him well, should he one day become the Chiefs starting quarterback. Playing the position well is a given. But as the starting quarterback, you must be someone that commands respect by your teammates, the coaching staff and to some degree the fan base. And respect is only earned through winning. But a scandal of this proportion is what separates great leaders from average ones.
And for Daniel, he saw first hand the job Drew Brees did in attempting to keep his team together after all the suspensions and the rabid media searching for another angle to write about.
”All the people outside see is what you guys write and the stories that are out there. It was definitely a tough year. It was one of the toughest years professionally in my short career that I’ve been through. I think we handled it pretty well. We ended up almost getting .500, and it’s hard when you lose your rock and your head coach like Sean Payton is down there. I think Drew (Brees) put a little extra pressure on himself to fill the player and the head coach void. Last year didn’t turn out like we wanted to,” Daniel said of his Brees.
So for Daniel, this is a big game on many fronts. But ultimately, he’ll be judged based on his play in a Chiefs uniform. And it will be interesting to see what he’s learned from Brees. Not many people view him as starting material in the NFL. Yet the Chiefs did give him a multi-year contract. So that has to mean, Reid believe that Daniel can stand in for Smith effectively.
The undisputable proof of that debate will unfold in Daniel’s play on the field, because after a sluggish start to training camp, he’s improved significantly.
That means on Friday night, against his old team, Daniel needs to bring his ‘A’ game to make believers out of his new team.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Chase Daniel fill the void if Alex Smith goes down?
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