Owen Daniels sees Bears as dangerous team in NFC

Denver Broncos, Houston Texans

Former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels thinks highly of his former team, as well as the Chicago Bears to make some noise in the NFC this year.

When you play at a high level in the NFL for a decade, you’re bound to cross paths with some of the all-time greats. That is exactly the case for the greatest tight end in Houston Texans history in Owen Daniels.

Daniels spent 10 years in the NFL out of Wisconsin, making two Pro Bowls in Houston playing for head coach Gary Kubiak in 2008 and 2012, as well as winning a Super Bowl as a member of the 2015 Denver Broncos with Kubiak again as his head coach and Peyton Manning as his quarterback.

Daniels spoke with FanSided‘s Mark Carman on behalf of Crown Royal and The Crown Royal Water Break. Carman and Daniels discussed many things including his former head coach’s role with the Minnesota Vikings, the Texans’ star quarterback Deshaun Watson and pediatric cancer.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, Daniels played all 10 of his NFL seasons for Kubiak, who was his head coach in Houston from 2006 to 2013, his offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and again his head coach in Denver in 2015. So alongside Broncos legendary quarterback, nobody knows Kubiak quite like Daniels.

“He really likes his role up there overseeing the offense and running things the way he wants it to be run. That’s a fantastic fit for him and what he likes to do and the players they have. It’s cool to see them doing their thing.”

When asked about how Kubiak will help bring the Vikings offense over the top in his new role with the team, Daniels responded, “They got a quarterback (Kirk Cousins) who reminds me of the intelligence and the ability that Matt Schaub had. Kirk Cousins kind of fits that mold. I was able to have a great conversation with Coach Kubiak over the summer.”

“He really likes his role up there overseeing the offense and running things the way he wants it to be run. That’s a fantastic fit for him and what he likes to do and the players they have. It’s cool to see them doing their thing.”

Daniels had tremendous success with Matt Schaub as his quarterback in Houston. To say that Kubiak sees a lot of prime-Schaub in Cousins is certainly a good thing. Together, Schaub, Daniels and Kubiak led the Texans to their first playoff berth as a franchise in 2011. Unfortunately, it all fell apart in 2013 in the form of a dreadful 2-14 record, leading to Kubiak’s firing in Houston.

Kubiak’s replacement in Bill O’Brien has brought some degree of stability to the Texans franchise. When asked about Kubiak’s successor being on the hot seat, Daniels would reply, “I think they are ready for him to take the next step. He did a tremendous job last year keeping those guys together when they started 0-3 and were able to fight their way into the playoffs.”

“That’s the nature of the game here in Houston. Coach Kubiak had back-to-back playoff seasons, taking an organization that wasn’t very good and turned them into winners. Then, we had one bad season and he got the boot. That’s the nature of the business and especially down here in Texas.”

Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos

Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

They sure don’t mess around in Texas when it comes to football. Good coaches will get the ax if they aren’t performing up to lofty standards. Fortunately for the Texans, Houston does have a star quarterback in Watson, who Daniels would have surely loved to have caught balls from during his illustrious football career.

“His physical ability speaks for itself,” said Daniels on Watson. “It seems like guys look to him as a leader. As young as he is and having that kind of impact on the team, that says more than his physical abilities. That’s a great sign for this organization. I really believe that if they stay healthy, he is going to bring a championship here.”

So you would think that the Texans would be the best team in the AFC right now in his eyes? They are 2-1 and would be 3-0 if not for a made field goal by the New Orleans Saints’ Wil Lutz as time expired in Week 1’s showdown on Monday Night Football in New Orleans.

Though the Texans hold a special spot in his heart, Daniels does think that the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs are the two best teams in the AFC right now. Most people would agree with that, but you’ll never guess which team he really likes in the NFC. No, it’s not the Dallas Cowboys or the Green Bay Packers, but he and Carman’s hometown Chicago Bears.

“I know the Bears are struggling a little bit on offense, but if they can get that offense clicking as the season goes along, that defense is fantastic,” said Daniels. “As fall turns into winter, and the weather conditions get a little crappier, that defense is more and more important. They get that offense a little more consistent, they’re going to be a problem as we go along.”

“I know the Bears are struggling a little bit on offense, but if they can get that offense clicking as the season goes along, that defense is fantastic. As fall turns into winter, and the weather conditions get a little crappier, that defense is more and more important. They get that offense a little more consistent, they’re going to be a problem as we go along.”

One would think that with as much praise of the Bears that Daniels grew up rooting hard for this team. That’s not necessarily the case for the Naperville, Illinois native. He said that the Cincinnati Bengals were his favorite team as a kid because they were really good in the 1980s and had a cool helmet. Who could blame him? He did say that he rooted for the Bengals and Bears as a kid, but the Bengals were probably his No. 1 team as a youth.

Daniels did grow up in Naperville, playing all kinds of sports including football, basketball and track and field. He said he will let his kids play any sport they want but will have to wait until high school to play tackle football.

When asked about his son Henry’s battle with pediatric cancer, Daniels would respond very encouragingly.

“He’s doing awesome, man. He’s got a clean bill of health. He’s had MRI scans that he does every three months, as he’s just over a year out of his surgery to have his tumor removed and he’s had a clean bill of health the whole time.”

“It’s like nothing ever happened. He’s a tough kid and kids are super resilient and we’ve learned a lot about pediatric cancer world along the way and they’re trying to bring some awareness to that. As we go through this life now, a lot of kids out there need help.”

Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos

Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

For any parents that are dealing with a child that has cancer, Daniels would offer the following as words of encouragement.

“Fear is a very normal emotion to have, to be scared and to be sad or to be angry about the situation. I think I felt all those things and to be okay with having those emotions, but to be there and be strong for your kid.”

“We really tried to keep everything as normal as possible. He had all these robots he had to get attached to all the time when he was having his infusions, but they became his robot friends and MRI machines became his big robot friends, too.”

“Keep things as light as possible, from my perspective at least with our son, it makes things a little bit better when you’re keeping things a little bit more on the lighter side.”

Glad to hear his son is doing well and the entire Daniels Family, too.

Besides being the greatest tight end in Texans history, Daniels also has a bit of NFL history on his side. Daniels caught the last touchdown pass of Manning’s Pro Football Hall of Fame career when they played together on the Super Bowl 50 champions. When asked about his best Manning story, Daniels gave Carman a great one.

“I remember in junior high school wearing his Tennessee jersey to school. And then I got to play alongside him. I actually helped him learn Coach Kubiak’s offense in his last year in the league. So kind of a crazy football circle of life right there…it was kind of surreal the more I think about it.”

“I remember in junior high school wearing his Tennessee jersey to school. And then I got to play alongside him. I actually helped him learn Coach Kubiak’s offense in his last year in the league. So kind of a crazy football circle of life right there…it was kind of surreal the more I think about it.”

One day, you’re wearing an orange Tennessee Volunteers No. 16 jersey to school in Naperville, Illinois. Another day, you’re catching a touchdown pass from “The Sheriff” himself to win a Super Bowl for the Broncos in what was the final game of both of their NFL careers. You can’t make this stuff up!

It’s been a few years since Daniels last played in an NFL game, but he seems to be enjoying retirement and family life, as well as doing the occasional spot for Crown Royal.

On his work with The Crown Royal Water Break, Daniels would say, “I was a bit fortunate. It’s my second year in a row being involved with this stuff. And you know, from my experience playing football, obviously as players, it’s really important to stay hydrated while we’re playing. And for fans, it’s equally as important. You want to be able to enjoy the entire game-day experience.”

Daniels will be at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, Sept. 29 at the Crown Royal Hydration Station at the Boulevard Fanfest to hand out water bottles to any Texans fan, or football fan, who wants one.

The Texans are off to a hot start and look to be the team to beat in the AFC South. At 2-1, maybe Daniels is on to something about the Bears being able to turn the corner to become the best team in the NFC? They do have a menacing defense and an excellent offensive head coach in Matt Nagy. We will know more about Chicago once the weather turns.

Owen Daniels spoke with FanSided on behalf of Crown Royal and The Crown Royal Water Break.

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