After missing more than half of the Baltimore Ravens preseason, tight end Owen Daniels is full speed in his ninth NFL season. Daniels was expected to be a part of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's one-two-punch style of offense, which features two tight end sets. But with Dennis Pitta out for the season with a hip injury, Daniels is carrying the load.
Kubiak and Daniels have certainly enjoyed success together in the past. For the better part of eight seasons, Kubiak was Daniels' head coach in Houston, where the two helped the Texans to the playoffs in 2011 and '12. During those eight seasons, Owens hauled in 385 receptions for 4,617 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Then, like Kubiak, Daniels joined the Ravens in the offseason. Through the first six weeks of the current season, Daniels has snared 21 receptions for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns.
I got the opportunity to catch up with the first-year Raven after the team's Week One loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-16.
MORGAN ADSIT: During the first game of the season, against the Cincinnati Bengals, the offense got off to a slow start. What do you think was the issue?
OWEN DANIELS: I think we are just a hair off on things, maybe just trying to be a little bit too perfect with what we were doing. We felt like we were getting our butts kicked. I think we bounced back really well at the end of the second quarter and third quarter, and made some plays and got back into a good rhythm.
MA: Do you think it has to do with the new system on the fundamental part, maybe not being confident in exactly what the key is on offense, and the other stuff is just muffling everything?
OD: We have run so many reps that everyone knows what they are doing. I'll go back to saying that we were just a hair off. When you try to be too perfect and try to do things like that, it can kind of bite you. Sometimes, you kind of just have to go with the flow and relax and just play ball.
MA: How did you feel playing? You took the tail end of preseason off as far as games and contact to rest your body.
OD: It felt really good. The hamstring felt really good; the knee felt good. It's a little bit of a different role, but I am getting acclimated to it and doing what I can do to help the team out, whether it's receiving the ball or when we run the football. I'm still going to do my part.
MA: Besides game planning and resting your body, what's the biggest turnaround from Sunday to Thursday, especially so early in the season? (Editor's Note: In Week Two, the Ravens defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.)
OD: Getting past this, clearing our mind of the situation that we dealt with today. I think having a game on Thursday helps that out. You got to look at the mistakes we made, but at the same time we got to move past it with a short game plan and short week. I think we are just itching to get back out there right now honestly.