When Head Coach, Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey, signed him to a three-year contract last March many in the Chiefs nation didn’t understand the signing. After all at that point, the team had already traded for veteran, Alex Smith, but they didn’t have anything behind their new quarterback, so they signed Daniel as his insurance.
It wasn’t until the final regular season game against the San Diego Chargers that Daniel made his first NFL start. He was impressive in that game nearly knocking the Chiefs AFC West rival out of the playoffs. But what can we really read into that performance?
Heading into training camp this summer Daniel isn’t even concerned with anything other than securing his roster spot this season. In fact, all he cares about is being back on the field again and making the most of his current roster spot.
“It’s great. It’s awesome.” Daniel said about his first day in training camp. “We had some good weather out here today. It’s weird being the oldest guy with Alex (Smith). We’re the two oldest guys out here so just trying to take a leadership role and improve each and every day. I thought it was a good day out here today, getting better, getting in the swing of things, getting our drops down. We just need to keep improving.”
That’s something the entire roster needs to accomplish if they hope to earn their second consecutive playoff spot.
Still no matter how you slice his roster chances, Daniel is at a crossroads in Kansas City. He’s been in the NFL five years now but doesn’t appear to have that star quality at the quarterback position that has eluded him to this point of his career.
Smith was a Pro Bowl performer a year ago and Daniel appears slated to become a perennial back up in the NFL. Making matters worse is the fact the Chiefs are in the process of grooming youngsters, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray, which could ultimately push the former Missouri Tiger standout off the roster altogether.
However to his credit Daniel isn’t really focused on that aspect of things. He works every day with the younger quarterbacks so he can see first hand what he has to do to make the roster. For now, all he wants to do is improve his own game, so if that choice gets made between his roster spot and that of one of the young pups, Reid chooses the veteran.
So how does he keep that edge?
“Get better every single day. Push Alex as much as possible and try to beat him out. That’s what brings out competition. I know Tyler (Bray) and Aaron (Murray) are coming after me. I know I am going after Alex,” he said.
“We are all pushing each other to get better. I think Coach Reid would even say the same as competition brings out the best in any position. And when you have a lot of competition on your team, you are competing at the highest level.”
At least, that’s the right mindset for Daniel to possess at this stage of his career. As the player always behind the starting quarterback, you never know when you’ll be called into action on the field.
For now though, Daniel can only hope a strong summer showing puts him in a position to he’s running out of the Chiefs tunnel at Arrowhead Stadium when the regular season begins in September.
Photos: Stan Liu & Christopher Hanewinckel USA Today Sports.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Chase Daniel beat out Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray?
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