ENGLEWOOD, Co--After inking tight end Owen Daniels to a multi-year deal yesterday, the Denver Broncos held an introductory press conference for the tenth-year pro. Daniels has several ties to the organization and to Denver, including former Houston Texans teammate and former Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen.
Today, Daniels spoke about his regard for Dreessen. When Dreessen was with the Broncos (2012-13), he was the best blocking tight end on the roster. Today, Daniels talked about the pride he takes in his blocking and how much he learned from Dreessen.
“I learned a lot from [TE] Joel [Dreessen],” Daniels opined from the podium. “He kind of set the standard there when we were in Houston. I always kind of felt he was a better blocker than I was and I wanted to be as good as he was at that. We pushed each other that way. I’ve actually spoken to him over the weekend. He’s excited that I’m up here and I’m looking forward to seeing him around. He’s one of my good friends.”
When Gary Kubiak was announced as the new head coach of the Broncos, everyone in Broncos Country assumed that Daniels would follow his old coach to Denver and according to Daniels, he set his sights on the Mile High City at that time, too.
“Yeah. I would have to say that,” Daniels said today. “Like I mentioned before, it’s kind of an ideal situation. Once he took the job here that was definitely a team on my radar since I was going to be a free agent. Being able to come and experience a city and this organization and continue my time with Coach Kubiak and [Tight Ends Coach] Brian Pariani and the staff that ‘Kube’ (Kubiak) puts together, is something I really couldn’t pass up.”
Like most free agents, even the ones on the other side of the ball, one of the big draws to Denver is Peyton Manning and the winning culture he personifies as a player. Daniels, a former collegiate quarterback, spoke to that allure today.
“Yeah, that was a factor in coming here, for sure,” Daniels said. “I’m very, very excited to play with Peyton. I’ve gotten to meet him a couple times at Pro Bowls in the past, so I have a little bit of a feel for him, but I’m looking to get to work with him and building that chemistry so we can have a great year.”
When asked whether the 5-time MVP had reached out to him yet, Daniels not only confirmed that he had, but that he’ll be joining Manning at his annual workout at Duke University.
“Yeah,” Daniels said, “Peyton actually reached out and invited me to his little Duke [University] camp that he does, which I’ll be attending, [I’m] looking forward to getting a head start to work with him and see what he’s all about. So he’s the only one I’ve spoken to and I’m looking forward to meeting all the other guys, for sure.”
For fans who are wondering what to expect from the Broncos tight ends in Kubiak’s offense, Daniels shared why he loves his coach’s system and how it showcases the players at his position but also requires all-around proficiency.
“It demands a lot,” Daniels said. “So it’s challenging, but a lot of fun, too, because you can do a whole bunch of different stuff. You can line up in a bunch of different spots on the field, really everywhere, and they always look for consistency. So you’ve got to be able to block or at least be willing to do that. You’ve got to. I think the biggest thing is be on your game mentally. It’s a very detailed offense in terms of what we do—landmarks and being in the right spot at the right time versus the right coverage. I’ve learned from a very smart football mind these last nine years, and looking forward to learn more and looking forward to learn from No. 18 (Manning), as well.”
Daniels is looking forward to getting started with his new team in his new home. He understands the expectations. They were one of the attributes that drew him to the Broncos.
“I’m in a new city,” Daniels said. “I think people might expect more out of me, so now I’ve got to match those expectations. I’m playing with a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame quarterback and I want to make sure that we’re always on the same page and I’m always in the right spot for him and doing the right things. I think this offseason will be a little bit different mentally for me. I’ll be learning a little bit [about] what Peyton does and the words that he likes to use and his terminology, so a little mash up of ‘Kube’ and what Peyton does. I’ll be studying probably a little more than I have in the past, which is a good thing.”
Daniels surprised many in 2014 with his production, especially since the Baltimore Ravens had an established pass-catching tight end on the roster in Dennis Pitta. But when Pitta was lost for the season because of injury, Daniels stepped up and produced at a high level, which makes it surprising that his old team didn’t push harder to keep him in Baltimore. When asked if the Ravens showed an interest in bringing him back, Daniels didn’t mince his words.
“Not as much as I thought they would. They came late with an offer, but it was already kind of over. I had already committed to come here. The contract, I think we had the terms agreed to and everything. After ‘Kube’ came here though, this was the destination for me.”
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