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On Doug Flutie, Chris Meidt and Chase Daniel

Height differences. (Training camp photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais - AP)

When Chris Meidt was a teenage football star, his idol was Doug Flutie. Posters of the Boston College star covered Meidt's walls. And when people asked how he could possibly be a successful quarterback at 5-foot-10, Meidt would point to Flutie's example.

"Flutie was kind of the rage at the time, so he was kind of my guy," the Skins offensive assistant said this week. "I'd say, 'There's another little guy out there getting it done.' And that was kind of the comparison all the time."

Like Flutie, Meidt was a scrambler and an improviser, and like Flutie, Meidt got it done. He quarterbacked his high school to two state championships, won the a Minnesota state player of the year award from the AP, and remains second in career passing yards and completions and first in touchdown passes in state prep history.

Now, does the fact that Meidt succeeded in high school as an undersized quarterback mean he's partial to smaller stature guys as an offensive assistant with the Redskins? No, not at all. But, at a minimum, he doesn't disqualify them because of their measurements. So when Jim Zorn told Meidt to rank the top college quarterbacks who wouldn't be drafted this spring, Meidt's 20-man list had the 6-foot Chase Daniel on top.

"I talked to some guys, they said, 'Ah, no way, he can't play, he doesn't have an arm,' " Meidt recalled. "I'm like, he's got a great arm. Watch film. 'Nah, he can't throw, he's only [6-feet].' Watch film. I mean, the film doesn't lie. He's got arm strength, he's got a quick release, he's accurate. That's what film showed."

So somewhere around the fifth round of the draft, Zorn asked Meidt about his list. The assistant said Daniel was ranked first. "Go get him," Zorn said. Which helps explain why Daniel was on the field at all last Saturday night.

"I really felt when you looked at it, he was the best guy out there, because of all the things people saw the other day: he's a great leader, he's smart, he studies, he'll take charge of a football team, he'll drive em down the field," Meidt said. "So I think maybe I was more open to seeing it. I think some people, because of his height, weren't even open to seeing the fact that yeah, he does have a great release, yeah, he is smart, yeah, he does have a strong arm."

The height issue has been raised repeatedly this week, since Daniel starred against the Steelers. Meidt was the man at the combine, standing next to the barefoot Daniel when he came in at 6 feet 0.00 inches. Both he and Jim Zorn have said they've never discussed size with Daniel, and that the issue only comes up when the media asks.

"I mean, Drew Brees is still six foot, I don't think he's growing," Meidt said. "But he's put up numbers, he's produced, so people just, 'Oh, ok.' They don't care. But here, it's kind of an anomaly. You have monstrous Jason, and so all of the sudden that becomes a topic on why a guy CAN'T [succeed]. Jim's right, he's never brought it up, because why would he? You can't change it. We're gonna bring up footwork, we're gonna bring up mechanics, we're gonna bring up ball location, because those are things we can correct and change. Height is just what you are, it's what God made you."

But Meidt said the mechanical instructions don't change based on a QB's height, that the things he and Zorn work with Campbell on are the same things they discuss with Daniel. Taller quarterbacks don't throw the ball over linemen; the biggest difference, Meidt said, is in seeing the passing lanes; "that's really all it is, you can see a little bit better," he said. That's same the issue he faced while coaching at St. Olaf, where he attracted talented but height-challenged quarterbacks who played in front of taller linemen.

Incidentally, I asked Meidt whether he's ever met or chatted with Flutie. Not yet, was the answer.

"I'd love to," Meidt said. "That's who made me think I could play."

(I see in comments below a reference to Theismann. Meidt went there, too. "D.C. knows of young guys who are short and can lead a team," he said with a smile.")

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 26, 2009; 2:43 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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wasn't Theisman only about 5-11 or 6 flat during his playing days?

Posted by: destewar | August 26, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse
Yes Joe was 6'0 192 lbs

Posted by: alex35332 | August 26, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

If Chase Daniel is 6' then I'm hung like a horse.

Posted by: c_e_daniel | August 26, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

aside from Drew Brees as an example, I at all of 5'6" find it the distinction between a 6'0 QB and a 6'2" QB (Kurt warner, arron rogers, tony romo, McNabb, favre and on) ridiculous.

Posted by: gatsu | August 26, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Chase Daniel is most likely going to be the 3rd string back. If you cut Chase, some other team is going to pick him up most likely. If you cut Colt, guaranteed spot on the practice squad, doubtful any other team would be interested in him. Unless Colt puts up ridiculous numbers and shows that he isn't an idiot with the ball, Chase Daniels is gonna be the guy that all retarted Redskins fans will think should be the starter in 2009. 0.02$

Posted by: BMACattack | August 26, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

And yet wasn't it Theisman who brought up the theory that Vick left the pocket because he couldn't see the receiver over the linemen?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dan, I don't know why sports writers so often get this wrong, but the correct expression is "all of a sudden," not "all of the sudden." Apart from this tiny quibble, I think you're doing a terrific job. And I especially appreciate your giving Meidt an opportunity to reinforce the notion that an inch or two of height should not make or break a quarterback.

Posted by: marco42 | August 26, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Dan Steinberg: You have stitched together a majestic tapestry with Chris Meidt and Doug Flutie and Chase Daniel, weaving in physical height, size of heart and the always compelling epic Battle Against the Odds. I am a Missouri alum in Northern Virginia. For three years I've followed Chase Daniel. I know all the story lines: spurned by the University of Texas; comes in as a sophomore when the Mizzou QB starter is injured and rallies for a win; totally ignored in the draft. And yet here he is, a very cool character who steps in (admittedly against defensive 3s) and tosses two touchdowns and scrambles for 22 yards on a run. For those of us repulsed by Dan Snyder and his megabotch management stylings, yearning for the Redskins of the Jack Kent Cooke (glory) years, Chase Daniel is one last, best (albeit undersized) reason to be jazzed about this franchise. Is this young man a winner? Is he a gamer? Does he have juice? All you have to do is look at his Twitter posts. He almost always ends his Tweets with "HTTR." How great is that?

Posted by: Drew_Babb | August 26, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

All of THE sudden the forum rained down praise on your astute recognition of an improperly used expression. Holy @#$# that was pointless.

Posted by: ncogneto40 | August 26, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Zorn, himself, never struck me as a tall guy. I guess I could look it up. But, I'm also guessing he was btwn 6 and 6 2". Smarts, agility, decent arm will get it done. Heck Sonny couldn't have been all that all. I know, different era and all. Point is, good athletes get it done.

Posted by: TheDubb | August 26, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

C'mon guys Daniel has only played 1-2 qtrs you guys are ready to annoint him. There are still 2 more preseason games left don't give up on Colt just yet

Posted by: K88J28 | August 27, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Great O-Lines Will Get-R-Done, Just ask Joe T., Doug W. and Mark R.! No matter how tall you are.

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | August 27, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching Chase Daniel since attending one of his senior year high school games on a trip to Dallas. He threw 5 long touchdowns from a spread offense and I recall thinking that this kid could play anywhere. At Missou he was their best quarteback ever, making smart decisions and having great accuracy. He really made that team a national powerhouse.

I would love to see him get a shot at the NFL and think the Redskins are lucky to have him.

Posted by: NYer | August 28, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Not ready to 'annoint' Chase or Colt. But they've both shown some talent and it'd be nice to keep them both around to see if they develop into anything. Whichever one ends up #3, hopefully we can keep the other on the practice squad.

Posted by: ts35 | August 28, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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