OL coach Harry Hiestand says there's a lot more than first meets the eye in reviewing James Daniels' first NFL start at center, most notably the second-year player getting blown up by Packers shooting star anchor Kenny Clark, and how the play call did Daniels no favors: "In the third-and-one, he was almost stung, so James had little chance on that one the way we approach it and I didn’t prepare him for that pressure in that front. And so he was playing it like a normal two-gap and then they brought the safety, so that one looked really, really bad on him. But overall he didn’t look like that the rest of the night and we had things we have to do better. But he didn’t do that too … that was kind of a product on that play.
"Yeah, definitely [Daniels' improved play strength showed up Thursday]. You could see him battle in there. There’s times when he was one-on-one in pass pro because they had all five guys rushing and he’s zero head up on him and he was pushing him. But he was hanging in there and giving Mitch enough and just totally one-on-one. There’s some things to take from that."
PFW's interpretation: Daniels had at least two high-profile losses — the run stuff by Clark and a holding penalty — but Hiestand is as straight a shooter as there is on the Bears coaching staff, not to mention among the knowledgable O-line coaches in the game, so we take him at his word on Daniels' debut. It's also worth noting he won't draw a lot of tougher assignments than Clark, and this one came in only his 12th career start, much less first pivoting. On our list of concerns from Thursday, Daniels, and the O-line on whole, isn't near the top.