Could this finally be the year for the Houston Texans to make their first ever playoff appearance? It sure doesn’t hurt that the Texans arch nemesis, Peyton Manning, wont be standing under center this Sunday as the two AFC South division rivals square off to open up the season. Though reports remain unconfirmed and murky, there seems to even be the possibility of Manning missing the entir NFL season.It’s now or never for Matt Schaub and his high powered offense featuring Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. The Texans even added some help to their secondary by signing Danieal Manning and Jonathan Joseph this off-season. Couple those signings with the introduction of Wade Phillips and his successful 3-4 defense and there is definitely reason to believe that the Texans are poised to break through. Owen Daniels is confident in Matt Schaub’s ability to lead this Texans team to the playoffs this season and even goes on to say that it is do or die for Houston this year.
Owen Daniels joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with JMV to discuss not paying attention to the Peyton Manning injury reports, the Houston Texans having any added pressure to play well to start off the season now with Peyton Manning being injured, the changes made to the Houston Texans offense this season, his expectations for Matt Schaub this season, and his predictions for the Houston Texans in 2011.
Is it tough to not get involved with all the reports surrounding Peyton Manning and whether or not he is going to play up until it was solidified he will not on Sunday?
“It’s hard to avoid if you like to watch ESPN because they are always talking about it. We are trying to worry about what we can control. We can control ourselves and being ready to play and if he is not there, whether he is or he isn’t, it’s fine either way.”
Is there added pressure this season for the Texans coming off a disappointing year and looking like things are going your way with Peyton Manning being hurt?
“There might be a little bit, but I think it is good pressure. It’s good when there are high expectations for your team and we want to fulfill those expectations. We have even higher expectations than the fans out there for ourselves, so obviously we want to get off to a good start. We did last year and had struggled during the middle of the season, but we want to get off to another fast start.”
Has there been any change offensively in Houston or are you still the potent passing team we know you as over the past few years?
“We haven’t really changed much. The only real change on the offensive side of the ball is a new fullback that we have, so Vonta [Leach] is gone. He was great for us and now we have James Casey leading the way. It’s going to be the same offense. Same stuff you saw last year. Obviously there will be wrinkles week-to-week, but we are going to try to continue to be consistent and help out the team that way.”
What are your expectations for your teammate and quarterback, Matt Schaub? Do you think we will see an even better offense led by Matt Schaub?
“He continues to get better every single year. I’ve been lucky enough to be around him his whole time here in Houston and just huge improvements every year. This year is hopefully going to be no different. He’s become the leader of our team and studies the game like I’ve never seen anyone study, so he always really prepared. I think this year we need to be good when we have to be good – at crucial situations at the end of the game, early in the game and third down situations. That’s when we need to be good. He’s going to make sure we are going to be putting our best effort out there.”
Do you have any predictions for your team in 2011?
“Predictions? Oh man. I predict we will be playoff bound. I don’t think there is really any other way for us to go. We don’t really have a choice at this point. There will be a lot of changes made if we can’t get it done with this group right here, so that’s the type of pressure we put on ourselves. We’re excited about it.”