San Francisco 49ers: Where B.J. Daniels Stands Following Week 2 of Training Camp
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After last Friday's preseason matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, Daniels may have to expect otherwise.
Daniels entered the game late in the third quarter and eventually wound up producing the eventual game-winning drive that put the 49ers ahead of the Chiefs 15-13.
His signature moment came on a third-down pass from Kansas City's 14-yard line that found receiver Chuck Jacobs in the end zone.
Daniels also led all San Francisco quarterbacks with 72 passing yards—six completions out of nine attempts—and delivered the 49ers' lone touchdown. He also ran for 13 yards on four attempts.
The performance was one of the few bright spots that emulated from the 49ers quarterbacks in a game that may shake up how San Francisco's coaching staff looks at Daniels and his future with the team.
Now, the question that begs answering is specifically how Daniels will fit into the 49ers' future plans.
When Daniels was drafted with the 237th-overall pick, it would have been a safe assumption that San Francisco was bringing him in to solely place competition upon the team's other backups to Colin Kaepernick: Scott Tolzien and the newly acquired Colt McCoy.
CBS Sports NFL analyst Pete Prisco was not particularly fond of his selection, as his critique of Daniels indicates. Prisco stated that Daniels was "a name not highly regarded by scouts. Daniels caught coach Jim Harbaugh's eye when he did that thing in that one game against that team. Remember?"
If one preseason game against an NFL team indicates anything, Harbaugh may be correct with the selection.
Granted, Daniels was facing a multitude of the Chiefs' depth players and others who are vying for a spot on their 53-man roster. It is obvious that Daniels would have struggled against any first-team players anywhere at this point.
Yet Daniels' performance last week may be an indication that there are changes ahead for the 49ers regarding which player may back up Kaepernick in the regular season. If San Francisco was previously thinking either McCoy or Tolzien would be the favorite, Daniels may thwart the answer.
According to a tweet from the 49ers, Harbaugh has stated that Daniels will be seeing an equal amount of snaps to McCoy and Tolzien.
Harbaugh said B.J. Daniels' reps will be even with that of Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien in practice this week.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 18, 2013
This is good news for the versatile Daniels, who has not only spent time as quarterback, but has also participated in both running and receiving formations. He has also contributed in camp as a member of special teams.
Daniels emphasized his efforts regarding the improvement of his game via an article published by the Associated Press. He stated:
I’m flying around the field and doing special teams and things like that, so it’s not even something I’m really focused on. I’m a competitor. As long as I can compete, whatever coaches ask me to do as a quarterback or any other position, I’m just going to try to master my techniques and fundamentals so I can be a good player and become a better quarterback.
Friday's game certainly lends credence to his efforts.
Neither McCoy nor Tolzien performed particularly well during the game, which further added to Daniels' chances of making the 53-man roster.
McCoy threw an interception in each game, completed just 46 percent of his passes and has a preseason passer rating of 25.3. Tolzien, who has thrown 21 more preseason passes than any other quarterback, has completed 53 percent of his throws and has a passer rating of 57.0.
Daniels' versatility also gives him points with the coaching staff looking forward.
Harbaugh expanded on this by touting Daniels' work. He stated:
Going into what he did the other night, it was very positive. It was an encouraging performance, and he’s done some encouraging things in practice as well. So, he continues on his process and he competed well and made plays. And when somebody does a good job, you give them a little more.
Harbaugh's words are encouraging for Daniels' chances. The fact that Daniels is a versatile athlete that, in some regards, has a similar skill set to that of Kaepernick, also bodes well for San Francisco's offense.
Yet before fans and coaches can start singing Daniels' praises, they will have to consider a few things.
First, Daniels' performance was solid, but it was against second- and third-team players on the Chiefs defense.
Additionally, Daniels has zero NFL experience aside from the limited time he has spent in the preseason and training camp thus far. On the other hand, McCoy has practical experience, which includes starting 21 games with the Cleveland Browns.
Who eventually wins the backup quarterback job?
Either way, the fact that the 49ers coaching staff is taking a closer look at Daniels during the upcoming week is a good sign. If all goes well, he should receive adequate playing time when San Francisco again takes the field in their next preseason matchup against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday.
As of now, Daniels has already shaken up the depth chart. If he emulates the performance again, it is not too unrealistic to think Daniels may be suited up once the regular season begins.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.
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