Texans' rookie tight end quietly excels

November 23rd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Texans' rookie tight end quietly excels


Associated Press

HOUSTON - Owen Daniels' five touchdown receptions is a Texans rookie record and the mark is tied for second among all NFL tight ends this season. But in a year where several other Houston rookies are having outstanding seasons, his work hasn't grabbed much outside attention. That doesn't mean those in the organization haven't noticed.
"Owen has been awesome," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's way beyond a rookie. He's been wonderful. A very mature young man, much like DeMeco (Ryans) he's playing about like a third or fourth-year player. He's a big part of the future."
Daniels has come a long way since he arrived in Houston as a fourth-round pick in April. His goal was simple and modest: just make the team.
"I didn't want to expect too much," he said. "If you would have told me I'd have five touchdowns at this point and this many catches and be playing as much as I am, I would have said: 'That's amazing, I'll take that. I'll definitely take that.'"
Daniels' five touchdowns are second only to the seven by the New Orleans Saints' Marques Colston among rookies. He has four more than any other rookie tight end in the league and holds the Texans' record for most touchdowns by tight end in one season.
The 6-foot-3, 246-pound player, who played quarterback for part of a season at Wisconsin, has appeared in 10 games and started eight. He has 26 receptions for 282 yards.
"Owen's done really well," said quarterback David Carr. "It's kind of surprising for him coming in as a rookie. I think just playing quarterback a little bit in college helped him understand defenses better."
Daniels agreed with Carr's assessment.
"As a quarterback you've got to know everything that's going on on the field," Daniels said. "At tight end I can just focus on my job. The mentality of being a quarterback is that I know what's going on around me and I think that's helped me be successful so far."
Daniels said he's learned from veteran tight ends Mark Bruener and Jeb Putzier. He's paid special attention to Bruener's tips on blocking.
"That's something I work to improve on every day, every week," Daniels said of blocking. "I think it's something that as a tight end you can never be good enough at. You're always going up against guys that are bigger than you - huge defensive ends you've got to move."
He said the best part of his rookie year has been the three times the Texans won. He's still trying to shake off the sting of the last-second loss to the Bills on Sunday.
"That's the worst part of the year," he said of the loss. "I haven't lost a game like that ever in all the years I've been playing football, on the last play of the game. It's tough when you think you have the game locked up and you let it slip away. That was tough to take."
Daniels hopes to have a long career in the NFL, but already has plans after his playing days. He has a degree in atmospheric and oceanic sciences and hopes to be a television weatherman.
He did a few game-day forecasts for a local TV station in Wisconsin while he was in college. Daniels even did an impromptu weather report from the sideline at the Hula Bowl that aired on ESPN.
"You can sit behind the desk and do some forecasting," he said. "But to me that's kind of boring. I'd like to get up there in front of the camera and have some excitement day to day."

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