Sports Out West

49ers training camp 2013: B.J. Daniels playing his way into backup discussion

San Francisco 49ers Rookie Camp

The competition to find the San Francisco 49ers next backup quarterback took a bit of an unexpected turn during their week two preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Rookie B.J. Daniels, who most thought would be a third string option at best, may have played himself into the picture. Daniels was far more effective than either Colt McCoy or Scott Tolzien and is the only 49er quarterback to lead the team on a touchdown drive so far in the exhibition season.

Daniels entered the game towards the end of the third quarter and proceeded to complete six out of nine passes for 72 yards and one very well thrown  touchdown pass. The rookie’s performance impressed head coach Jim Harbaugh and has put him in line for more reps at practice.

“Going into what he did the other night, it was very positive,” Harbaugh said. “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.”

“Scott and Colt had been getting the same amount of reps (this summer), B.J. a little less than those two,” Harbaugh said. “And this week, plan on evening it up across the board.”

The fact that Harbaugh has confirmed that the backup job is basically a dead heat is every bit an indictment on McCoy and Tolzien as it is a compliment to Daniels. McCoy and Tolzien have not played well in the first two preseason games. Some of that has to do with poor offensive line play but the duo also shares part of the blame. Tolzien has completed 18 of 34 passes with an interception and has a passer rating of 57.0. McCoy only has 13 attempts but has completed just six of those. He has been intercepted twice and has a rating of 25.3. Neither has been able to move the ball consistently.

While Daniels has clearly outperformed his counterparts, it has to be noted that he did so late in the game playing with and against a number of players who will not be on NFL rosters when the season opens. That’s not to take away from his performance, but he would need to prove he can play as well against stiffer competition. Starter Colin Kaepernick, who has only played two series in the two games thus far, will most likely play at least a half in the teams matchup in week three against the Minnesota Vikings. Would the 49ers give Daniels a shot to follow him up if he has a good week of practice? Regardless of how it plays out, the rookie is taking it in stride.

“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,” Daniels said. “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.”

 Photo Credit: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

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Al Sacco

Al Sacco is sports expert who knows football, baseball, basketball and hockey. He has spent his time as a sports journalist covering the San Francisco 49ers as a staff writer for 49erswebzone.com and 49ersgab.com. He is also a contributor to Yahoo! Voices.