Broncos preseason: Owen Daniels should have huge impact


The Denver Broncos were relatively quiet in free agency this offseason, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make any high impact moves.

When free agency opened up and it was clear Julius Thomas wasn’t going to be re-signed, the Broncos worked quickly to re-sign their own free agent tight end Virgil Green, but also almost immediately paired him with veteran Owen Daniels, a former draft pick of Gary Kubiak and the Houston Texans in 2006.

Daniels is entering his 10th year in the NFL, which feels crazy, but the former Wisconsin Badger has put together a heck of a career and has been productive wherever he’s gone when healthy. The Broncos are hoping Daniels can provide them with more than anyone is really anticipating from an outside perspective.

No one is really talking about the acquisition of Daniels in Denver as a high impact move, but we’ve seen what kind of impact the tight end position makes in a Peyton Manning offense, but even more so in the offense that Gary Kubiak has conducted in the past.

Dating back to the days of Shannon Sharpe in Denver and then guys like Tony Scheffler, Daniel Graham, Daniels in Houston, James Casey, and plenty more in between, the tight ends in this offense have been productive and Daniels knew when he hit free agency and Kubiak took a job in Denver where he wanted to end up.

“I knew I was going into free agency and becoming a free agent,” Daniels said. “Once Coach Kub took the job here, that kind of went to the top of my list of places that I wanted to be. We stayed in touch, the free agency period rolled around and the Broncos came calling. So it was one of those things that, this was that ‘deal’ place once he came here with the whole situation, the team situation, the quarterback situation and the head coach situation. I’m glad we were able to make it work out.”

The Broncos have to be glad as well. With Daniels and Virgil Green, they have a really strong duo of tight ends that can provide mismatches in the passing game. They also added James Casey, Joe Don Duncan, and Jeff Huerman this offseason, though it will be Green and Daniels carrying the heaviest load.

Fittingly, Daniels’ debut with the Broncos will come this Saturday night in Houston, and he’ll have a chance to play in front of family, friends, former coaches, and teammates.

“I spent eight years there, so whenever I go back there, it will always be a different experience. It’ll be nice to go back and see fans and former teammates. That’s always the fun part of it.”

Since coming into the league, it’s well documented at this point that Daniels has not played for any other coach besides Kubiak. He thinks of him as his close football family.

“I think it’s a good relationship. I want to kind of compare it to like a father-son relationship just because of how much time we’ve spent together and how often we see each other and the type of communication that we have. He’s not my dad, but he might be my football dad.”

It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch Daniels in Denver this year. Like some other big name veteran additions in the recent past, Daniels is a technician. He’s not a game-breaking TE like a Jimmy Graham, but he’s capable of putting up big numbers and helping the Broncos’ offense flow really well. He’s going to be a sneaky great addition for this team as he has been sneaky great for the Texans and Ravens, and one of the best tight ends in the NFL over the last 10 years.

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