For most people, Scott Daly was an afterthought on the Detroit Lions roster. The long snapper was brought into camp to compete with 18-year veteran Don Muhlbach, a task many have faced, but none have come out victorious. On Tuesday, the Lions announced that Daly had accomplished the unthinkable and dethroned Muhlbach. It was the end of an era, but perhaps the start of a new one.
“I’ve had a crazy journey,” Daly said after Thursday’s practice. “I mean, no specialist’s journey is the same. I just try to take it for what it is. I’m very grateful for every spot that I’ve been to.”
Daly is used to being overlooked. His NFL journey, which started as an undrafted player in 2017, has taken him from training camp of the Dallas Cowboys to the now-defunct AAF, and then on to the now-defunct XFL. Despite all the bumps in the road, Daly never gave up on his dream or lost confidence in his ability to eventually land an NFL job.
“I love to snap and I know I can do this,” Daly said. “I have confidence in myself. A lot of it’s timing. A lot of it’s being at the right place at the right time. Just knowing that and seeing a lot of specialists’ paths and journeys going from team to team and being cut and being released or whatever it is. Just knowing that if I do my very best, then I put myself in a pretty good chance to be able to go from there.”
Of course, coming to Detroit, he knew what he was getting into. Muhlbach is a legend among long snappers, so Daly used the opportunity to learn from one of the best.
“The biggest thing he said was to find your routine. Find what you know works for you,” Daly said. “Everyone’s different, everyone has their own things and routine and overall, things that just work for them. Just be you, be you and try to get better each and every day. To be able to have Don and to be able to work with him each and every day, I’ve been very grateful and just wish him nothing but the best.”
Now it’s Daly’s job to develop a chemistry with his punter. Jack Fox is a Pro Bowler, and the last thing the Lions want to do is mess with that. While Daly doesn’t have the famous fastball of Muhlbach, Fox likes what he’s seen out of him so far.
“He snaps a really smooth ball, a really smooth spiral, and he works really hard,” Fox said. “He works really hard in protection and is just trying to do the right things.”
Although it appears to be smooth sailing for Daly now, head coach Dan Campbell made it a point to say that his job hasn’t been won yet.
“Daly’s here and he’s still got to compete for a job and he knows that, as does everybody else on this roster,” Campbell said.
That shouldn’t be a problem for Daly, who knows from past experience not to take an opportunity like this lightly.
“I’m just trying to keep my head down, get better each and every day because I know I have to earn this and treat it like any other day, and (I’m) just trying to do my best.”