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Owen Daniels: Backup QB for a half

Posted by Nick Scurfield on November 28, 2011 – 2:05 pm

When Matt Leinart went down with a collarbone injury on Sunday, the Texans’ leading receiver became their backup quarterback. Recently-signed Kellen Clemens was inactive, leaving tight end Owen Daniels as the only available option behind rookie T.J. Yates.

The last time Daniels took a live snap was in 2002, when he was a redshirt freshman at the University of Wisconsin. Coach Gary Kubiak told Daniels at halftime to get some snaps. He took center exchanges from Chris Myers in the locker room, then went out to the field and threw passes with Yates before the start of the third quarter.

“He (Kubiak) pointed at me, and I knew what that meant, so Chris and I got some snaps just in case,” Daniels said after the game. “We’ve been doing that periodically through the year when one of the guys is banged up. So… yeah. Since Kellen wasn’t dressed, I was the backup.”

What was going through Daniels’ mind?

“I was just trying to stay positive that nothing was going to happen to T.J., and that we were going to protect him and that he was going to come out of the game clean and I wouldn’t have to go in there,” Daniels said. “It would be a fun experience to get under center, but that’s not something this team wants to see.”

Daniels saw action in three games at quarterback for Wisconsin in 2002. He went 2-of-6 with two interceptions before switching to tight end the following season.

“You know what, my arm is (still) good enough to make certain throws,” Daniels said, smiling. “It’s not in the condition that it used to be. I’m a little bulkier now than I was, which you think might make you have a stronger arm, but I don’t think that’s the way it works. But I can still throw the ball a little bit. I can spin it.”

When the Texans install their game plan each week, Daniels said he pays close attention to where the ball is supposed to go against certain coverages. He also takes note of the coaching points that Greg Knapp and Rick Dennison give to the Texans’ quarterbacks. But he readily acknowledged that the Texans’ passing game would have been extremely limited if he would’ve had to play against the Jaguars.

“I could handle a little bit on the fly,” Daniels said. “They would’ve kept it simple – short throws, easy reads. But it never came down to that.”

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