Detroit Lions least talked about Training Camp battle: ‘Let the best man win’

Both Detroit Lions players understand that they're competing against a performance standard, not just each other.

We are now a couple of weeks into Detroit Lions training camp, and there has been plenty of talk about some of the biggest position battles that have been going on, but there has been very little chatter about the battle to see who will be the Lions' long snapper in 2023. During the offseason, the Lions signed former Pro Bowler Jake McQuaide, who is 35, to come in and compete with Scott Daly, who was the Lions' long snapper in 2022. Before he signed on the dotted line, McQuaid was told by the Lions coaching staff that he would have to be Daly outright to win the job and that a tie would go to the incumbent.

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Detroit Lions least talked about Training Camp battle: ‘Let the best man win'

During a recent interview, McQuaide talked about “competing against a standard” and not necessarily against another player.

“They said you got to come here and compete and the reality is — and Scott knows the same thing — is like, whether there’s another guy in there or not, you’re competing against a standard,” McQuaide said. “And if you get caught up in the, ‘Oh, he did this today, I did that,' and same thing for a kicker. It’s not about that. It’s about playing to a standard or above a standard, and then if you do that, you’re going to be playing somewhere, whether it’s here or not, and that’s always been my focus when I’ve had guys come in and compete against me, and that’s my focus when I’m coming in and competing against Scott.”

McQuaide Has Raised Scott Daly's Game

Lions special teams coach Dave Fipp said the reason why the team brought in McQuaide was because he did not feel like Daly was developing quickly enough.

“Daly’s done a great job since he’s been here, but at the end of last season I felt like personally — and him and I've talked about this — but I felt like personally he didn't make the step forward that we wanted to see from him from the year before,” Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “We thought he got better, but maybe he could get better at a faster rate and sometimes competition helps accelerate that process. And then the McQuaid thing kind of fell into our hands. So our plan was to bring in another guy, and we didn't think it was necessarily a veteran guy like that.”

Lions head coach Dan Campbell says having McQuaide in camp has raised Daly's game.

“I feel like Daly’s game is elevated,” Campbell said. “He’s gotten better. His speed of his snaps, location, getting out of his stance and protection are — like it’s showing up. And really, Quaide’s been coming off the injury, but I feel like over the last week, you can see him — he’s getting back into what he’s accustomed to. So, I just think it’s no different than any other position. We’re trying to pull the most out of these guys and let the best man win.”

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Key Points

  1. The Detroit Lions training camp has highlighted some intense position battles, including a lesser-discussed competition for the long snapper position between Jake McQuaide and Scott Daly.
  2. McQuaide, the former Pro Bowler, was signed during the offseason and has brought a competitive edge to the role, emphasizing the need to meet or exceed a certain standard rather than outperforming a specific individual.
  3. According to the Lions' special teams coach Dave Fipp and head coach Dan Campbell, the introduction of McQuaide has accelerated Daly's development, pushing both players to improve their game and compete for the long snapper position.

Bottom Line: Only One Can Stay

The Detroit Lions training camp has become a battlefield for the best players to secure their spots on the team, with an intriguing and overlooked contest unfolding between Jake McQuaide and Scott Daly for the long snapper position. Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes have fostered a culture of relentless competition where only the best player wins. In this environment, former Pro Bowler McQuaide's signing has not only increased the intensity of competition but also driven the development of Daly, with both players vying for supremacy at their position.

Both players understand that they're competing against a performance standard, not just each other. It reaffirms the unwavering stance of Campbell and Holmes: no matter the role, from the spotlighted quarterback to the underrated long snapper, they are committed to retaining the best player on their roster.