GREEN BAY – Mike Daniels is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.
The Green Bay Packers’ third-year defensive lineman knows all about coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ plans to reduce the amount of different schemes the defense will use this season and use more personnel groupings to get more players involved. That’s all well and good.
But for Daniels, who has become increasingly vocal each of the past two years, it’s not about Xs and Os in the playbook. It’s about the guys on his side of the ball playing with more of an edge, and not getting pushed around anymore. To Daniels, the Packers’ biggest problem is attitude.
“Me, personally, being a leader, I'm looking to make the defense a lot meaner, get after guys a little bit,” Daniels said following the team’s first minicamp practice Tuesday afternoon. “A lot of times, you look on tape the last couple of years, some of our guys get shoved in the back after plays. I've seen it happen to some defensive linemen. Now that I'm older and I'm a little more vocal, that's unacceptable.
“Every game, one of our offensive guys gets knocked out, maybe two, so it's about time we returned the favor to other teams instead of just getting pushed around all the time. It's just a little bit of a different attitude. A little meaner. A lot meaner. Actually, being mean for once because, quite frankly, we haven't been. I think that's been our biggest problem on defense.”
A fourth-round pick from Iowa in 2012, Daniels took a big step last season as a player, registering a defensive line-high 6.5 sacks. But he also began to speak his mind more, despite the presence of veteran linemen Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and B.J. Raji.
It was Daniels, for instance, who embraced the suggestion last year that the Packers weren’t tough enough, and admitted that was the case. While that might’ve changed early last season, Daniels believes the Packers failed to keep that mentality for the full season.
“I've taken it personally since I stepped on campus. I think that's something that we've lacked and we need to get a lot better at,” Daniels said. “But the good thing is, you see it. We've got some young guys with some attitudes. I think that's different than what it has been. And they're ready to follow. … I want to make sure I get the best out of my teammates."
And, Daniels says, he’ll stop at nothing in his efforts to make that happen.
“I'm personally going to make that my job to really get the best out of everybody. I don't care if I've got to hit somebody before we get on the field. If that's going to [expletive] them off and they take it out on somebody on the other team, then so be it,” Daniels said, adding that he is “very comfortable” in his role as a leader.
“If something has to be said, I'm going to say it. If somebody has a problem with it, then we're grown men. We play a violent game. We get paid to be violent, so why not? If you deck somebody in the locker room because you had a disagreement, there's not going to be any sensitivity training. It's a barbaric sport, so that's how you're going to have to approach it.
“I'm tired of getting our face punched in by other teams. I'm not used to that."
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