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Commanders OC Kliff Kingsbury on Jayden Daniels: 'He’s intentional in everything he does'

profilephotocropby:Suzanne Halliburton05/15/24


commanders jayden daniels kliff kingsbury
USA Today

New Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury finally got to see new quarterback Jayden Daniels, up close and with the rest of the rookie class.

Daniels, of course, was the second pick of last month’s NFL Draft. He’s the former LSU star and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. And now the hopes of football fans in the nation’s Capitol are on his shoulders.

Likewise, Kingsbury is in his first season with the Commanders. He’s known as a quarterback whisperer, one who has worked with some of the greatest college quarterbacks, from Caleb Williams to Kyler Murray to Patrick Mahomes to Johnny Manziel. All but Mahomes won Heismans. Mahomes has three Super Bowls.

And Kingsbury said he’s known all about Daniels for several years. In a previous football life, Kingsbury was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, which didn’t play their games that far away from Arizona State, where Daniels used to lead.

So what are Kingsbury’s thoughts on Daniels, now that rookie camp is in the books?

“He’s intentional in everything he does, which I like,” Kingsbury told reporters. “That’s what we had heard about him coming up. And that’s what he’s been since he’s been here. He’s focused, intentional, and got to work. So that’s been fun to be around.”

There seems to be little question that the Commanders are setting up Daniels to be the starter this season. They signed Marcus Mariota, a former Heisman winner and No. 2 pick of the draft, as a backup. Washington also added journeyman Jeff Driskel. On Tuesday, the Commanders waived Jake Fromm, who was the only quarterback from last year’s team remaining on the roster.

Daniels completed 12 straight passes at Commanders rookie camp

Commanders tight end Zach Ertz also was impressed with Daniels, who completed 12 straight passes during his first 11-on-11 team drills at mini camp.

“Right off the bat, you can tell he’s an extremely talented player,” Ertz said. “It kind of jumps out at you when you’re on the field with him. The arm talent is there. But also, he really, really cares about this thing. He wants to be as good as he can possibly be. He’s working his butt off. I know he’s doing a lot behind the scenes to make himself as prepared as possible.”

Kingsbury also noted how Daniels does his prep. After all, Kingsbury was a record-setting college quarterback who played in the NFL. Kingsbury knows the position from the perspective of a player, coordinator and head coach.

“He has a plan for studying,” Kingsbury said. “He has a plan for practice. (And) he has a plan for watching film. He knows what he wants to be and where he wants to go. To be that young and come in there with that mindset is real encouraging.”