Lions’ Darrell Bevell explains why he prefers more mobile backup quarterbacks

ALLEN PARK – Matthew Stafford is known for his superior ball placement and tight throws with the best the NFL has to offer, skills hard to find in reserve quarterbacks.

Stafford is also known for not missing a lot of time despite a long list of injuries during his 12 years at Detroit. The Lions quarterback missed eight games last year and is likely to miss this weekend’s game in Tennessee with a rib cartilage injury. Chase Daniel has replaced Stafford twice this season.

Darrell Bevell, the Lions offensive coordinator and interim head coach, turned out to prefer a more mobile quarterback than a tight pitcher closer to Stafford’s style. Josh Johnson started last year as a main replacement, and it was Jeff Driskel who got the first chance to replace Stafford in 2019. Driskel enjoyed a few moments in his three starts last year, with a 151 yard run and one touchdown. He converted 10 first tries by scrambling or extending plays out of the pocket with his legs.

David Blough isn’t known for his wheels, and Daniel certainly isn’t freewheeling like he was during his days in Missouri. Still, the team’s addition of a quarterback is fueling that thought process. Jordan Ta’amu on the training squad following Stafford’s injury. Bevell was asked if he would prefer to have a mobile backup, saying it opens up different areas of the game plan while making things easier in some places.

“Some things can be a bit, I guess, simplified when you have a bit more of a mobile quarterback,” Bevell said. “You can do different things and you can simplify the game in certain ways for him, because obviously you can always save the game with your feet. It doesn’t take anything away from Matthew (Stafford), he does a phenomenal job and he does everything we would like him to do. But just in this position you’re going to get minimal reps, so you won’t be able to be as focused on some of the progressions and readings, and being mobile kind of allows you to give yourself that second chance opportunity on a play.

It should be noted that it looks like Stafford will do whatever he can to play this weekend, with the team giving him the whole weekend to see how he progresses.

Related: Matthew Stafford trying to remove cartilage damage: “I just need to be able to function, you know?”

For what it’s worth, Daniel managed to pull out of his pocket and score on a scramble in relief last weekend. A call on hold wiped the points off the board, but the game certainly gave the veteran a boost of confidence.

“Yeah, I didn’t know I still had that kind of speed on the edge so it gave me a bit of confidence knowing that at 34 I could still trot a bit,” said Daniel. “But it was for nothing. But, it was, yeah, it would’ve been nice to score that drive, you know, seven, I know we scored a basket. My mindset was just like, “hey, like, I’m probably going to have two records here, we have to score on both. The third and 14 were pretty safe with the Hock throw in the middle because I knew we needed a kick out no matter what we did. For the most part, I felt quite happy. The coach was pretty happy with what I was able to do, on the way down, and then we had the big comeback from Ag (new). It certainly helps. I was hoping for another chance, that’s for sure.

One thing to remember is that Daniel has taken on an increased role in training in recent weeks due to Stafford’s thumb injury to his throwing hand. Those first-team reps might come in handy this weekend, but Stafford isn’t counting it yet.

Related: With Matthew Stafford ill, Detroit Lions add fourth QB Jordan Ta’amu to practice squad

Daniel, one of the highest paid alternate quarterbacks in league history, has started five games in 11 seasons. He completed 11 of 19 attempts for 123 yards with one touchdown and one interception in two appearances this year. He won’t let the ball tear the pitch like Stafford, especially with star wide receiver Kenny Golladay looking unlikely to return this weekend. Daniel has said he will use his legs when needed, but he doesn’t like running and seeks to “pass the ball like a quarterback does.”

“Not really, because I’m tired and not as fit as I used to be,” Daniel said when asked if he likes to run. “(I’m in) pretty good form, but I prefer to pass football like a quarterback does. But, definitely, when things go down, I can use my legs a bit.

“Look, I’m just going to do my reading. If a game fails, like any other quarterback, I’ll try to get out of this mess and find the guy open.

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About Bernice Dyer

Bernice Dyer

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