Chase Daniel had a front-row seat to one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history with the New Orleans Saints.
Once a back-up to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, the 13-year veteran is competing for a spot as the No. 2 quarterback behind the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert. On Wednesday, Daniel discussed the ongoing competition with Easton Stick, working with Herbert, and how the Chargers offensive personnel stacks up with what the Saints have had over the last decade-plus.
"New Orleans had some pretty good offenses," Daniel said. "I would say our receivers here are the best I've ever been a part of, and I've seen some pretty good ones. We're pretty deep at that position."
Daniel also pointed to the talent in the tight ends room with Jared Cook and in the backfield with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. He praised the front office for the moves they made this offseason to further bolster the offensive line, including the signing of All-Pro center Corey Linsley.
The one that makes it all go, though, is Herbert. He's learning a brand new system, one Daniel has experience with having spent five years with Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi when he was the quarterbacks coach in New Orleans.
"What Joe does is fit the offense to the quarterback," Daniel said. "He got spoiled for so long being with Drew for 12 years. But this number 10 of ours is special. He can throw just about every ball on the football field. I know he's excited about that, I know Justin's excited about it.
"It's a lot of studying, a lot of work for a quarterback in this system. You literally have to know every single bit in the run game, the pass game, play-action game, screen game. Justin's been studying his butt off for that. It's going to be fun when the live bullets start flying."
Daniel said that Herbert is one of the smartest young players he's been around. Independent of football knowledge, he's seen how Herbert approaches the responsibilities that come with being a franchise quarterback, and his humility despite a record-breaking rookie season.
"It's a lot of pressure, but he handles it so easily and it comes naturally to him," Daniel said.
Daniel and Stick will both play in this Saturday's preseason finale against the Seahawks. It's one final audition before clubs must cut their rosters down to 53 players on Tuesday, August 31.
Lombardi said Wednesday that he thinks he knows who will start in Seattle, but didn't want to say in case head coach Brandon Staley changes course.
Whatever the decision, Daniel will be ready.
"I take every year as a competition," Daniel said. "I feel like I always have the mentality of competing for a spot, that chip on my shoulder. I was undrafted 12 years ago. This is my 13th year and I feel like I still have stuff to prove. For me, this competition is no different. I just go out there and try to play the best football I can. I try to put the team in the best position to succeed when I'm out there."
Odds and Ends
- The team signed linebacker Nate Evans and waived defensive lineman Frederick Smith Jr. Evans spent time with the Seahawks and Jaguars last season.
- Outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell had a sack, two tackles and three quarterback hits on 32 snaps last Sunday vs. San Francisco. On Wednesday, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill praised Fackrell for his consistency: "He does things the right way. Like I mentioned, you watched him in Green Bay, he kills you in the sack game, and then he gets to New York, and he's winning in the pass game. Obviously, we probably won't ask him to drop that much in coverage, but I think that whatever we ask him to do, I think that he is going to be able to go out and do it at a high level. We like what we're getting in Fackrell. He's been doing everything that we've asked."
- Lombardi on the running backs room: "They have been great. The best thing you can say is that those guys are making us make tough decisions about who's going to get the reps, who are going to get the carries. They are similar in some ways, but then they will bring something a little different, as well. I'm pleased with how that room has been progressing. I saw some good pass protection today, and that's key, of course. The best thing I can say is that I feel good about every single kid in that room. That makes decisions hard sometimes."
- Hill on rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.: "He's taking the coaching. Like I mentioned before, this is a guy who was brought up the right way. He's always looking at the right things. His technique was really good, once he came in. Now, he has [Secondary] Coach [Derrick] Ansley, and he's as detailed as they come. He's soaking it all in and it's showing up in the practices and games. We knew early on, getting accustomed to this pace of the NFL, we knew that would be challenging, but with him, it's kind of like once he sees it once or twice, he's good after that."
The Future is Here!
Secure your 2021 Season Ticket Memberships for only $100. Click here to learn more.