By Glenn Naughton
As many fans and analysts expected, the New York Jets, who are currently without a starting quarterback and are turning over almost every stone to find one, have set up an interview with recently released Eagles quarterback Chase Daniel.
Former Eagles QB Chase Daniel will visit Jets today, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 20, 2017
Now, let’s be honest here. While hordes of Jets fans have come out pretty adamantly against a move for Daniel, the fact that a good number of those fans are having a very hard time spelling his name correctly (there’s no “s” at the end, it’s Daniel), shows just how much we know about him.
With the Jets and Daniel reportedly meeting to talk about a possible deal, let’s take a look at what we do know.
Prolific College Career:
Daniel played his college football at Missouri where he was a starter for three seasons. In that time, he threw for 101 touchdowns and 41 interceptions in Gary Pinkel’s spread offense. Daniel showed steady improvement during his time at Mizzou, seeing his completion percentage climb dramatically, from 63.5% as a sophomore, to 68.2% as a junior, and a whopping 72.9% as a senior.
Those numbers earned Daniel a fourth place finish in the Heisman voting, and propelled the Tigers to an 11-2 record on the strength of his 39 touchdown.
While Daniel made his living with his arm, he used his legs a fair bit to get himself out of trouble when necessary. He’s not going to make anyone forget Michael Vick, but he did manage to rush for 970 yards during his time at Missouri, picking up 10 rushing touchdowns along the way.
According to NFL.com, Daniel was a respected leader at Missouri where they described him as a “competitive field general” who acted as a “virtual coach on the field” who has good accuracy to all levels. Daniel was expected to be hindered by his lack of time spent under center in college, but he has now spent seven years working with some of the most respected offensive coaches in the NFL in Sean Peyton and Andy Reid, while having the opportunity to learn behind Drew Brees and Alex Smith.
He’s exactly what Jets fans have been asking for; kind of:
No, Daniel isn’t a “sexy” free agent or household name with tons of fantastic YouTube highlights, but let’s be objective here. Without an answer at quarterback for much of the past four-plus decades, Jets fans have been saying that players such as Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, guys who are “projects”, should be given adequate time to adjust to the NFL following productive college careers.
Well, isn’t that exactly what Daniel is? He played great in a spread offense and was then drafted to play behind a future Hall of Famer. That prevented him from seeing the field, but gave him plenty of time to sit back and learn. So why are so many fans upset over the possibility of brining in a guy who is exactly what they’ve been calling for?
One thing that has been mentioned by onlookers in regards to Daniel and the Jets is the fact that Gang Green’s new offensive coordinator, John Morton, spent time in New Orleans working with Sean Payton. To say that Daniel is a good fit based solely on that would be irresponsible as Morton has never called his own plays. However, should he choose to employ some of Payton’s concepts, it could make the transition that much smoother for Daniel. At this point in Jets land, every little bit helps.
Small Sample Size:
Because he’s been parked behind Brees in New Orleans and Alex Smith in Kansas City, Daniel has attempted just 78 pro passes in a pair of starts and a few spot snaps here and there.
In those 78 attempts, Daniel has completed 65.4% of his passes while throwing 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
If Daniel signs and proves himself to be a worthy starter, the Jets have a quarterback. If he signs and he’s a disaster, they’ll either get an extended look at Bryce Petty and/or Christian Hackenberg to decide what to do with what would likely by a top-3 pick in next year’s draft. It makes for a potentially rough 2017, but a win in the long-term.