In order for TEAM 93 to win their division, they needed to change the look of their team, by becoming bigger, stronger, and more physical. You can see they are bigger and stronger than last year, but more physical? We’ll know more Sunday.
I see five pieces to the puzzle that, if all goes as expected, will help the defense, and will make TEAM 93 a more physical team when compared to 2012. These five pieces bring attitude, a physical presence, and the tough guy style the Packers so dearly missed last season.
• Mike Daniels: At an even six-foot, a very stout, solid 294 pounds, Daniels is the smallest DL on the team excluding Mike Neal. Coming out of Iowa last season with a bum shoulder, Daniels was not able to compete at his highest level, playing mostly on one and a half arms most of the season.
Now healthy throughout camp and ready for the season to start, his ‘chipper’ personality has begun to surface. He talks trash, he talks whatever, and he is up in your face, not to back down from anyone. He is a physical football player, a very solid football player, a tough guy who seems to have become a team spokesman, and will see big minutes this season.
This year’s version of Mike Daniels will be eons ahead of the last year’s.
• Johnny Jolly: Johnny Jolly will hurt you, within the rules. He will lay the wood on running backs coming through the line, stopping them dead in their tracks, and then will get up and chirp in their ear all the way back to the huddle. Jolly has rubbed off on some of the young players like a Mike Daniels.
Those two guys together will not let anyone mess with anyone on their defense. It’s all about “bringing the “TUDE.” – the attitude that is! Johnny Jolly’s presence in that area cannot be overstated.
Physically, he brings 330-plus pounds to a defense needing size and toughness. Another tough guy who has a unique ability in tipping passes at the line of scrimmage. The fact that we are even talking about him at all is a tremendous story in itself.
• Nick Perry: Six feet, three inches, 265 pounds, the second year LOLB missed the final 10 games of last season with a wrist injury, plus the playoffs. In college at USC, Perry was a defensive end, and was transitioning in his rookie year into a new position. While on IR, Perry was able to view plays from the sideline, and talk at lenth with OLB Coach Kevin Green over the last calendar year.
Now healthy, and better acclimated to his new position, Perry brings a physical, dominating presence opposite all pro linebacker, Clay Matthews. A tremendous athlete, Perry has shown an amazing ‘bull rush’ when rushing the passer, but that pretty much was all he had.
Sunday will help answer the question, “Has Nick Perry developed a second and third move to complement his outstanding bull rush?” If he has, WOW!!
• Andrew Quarless: Mike McCarthy said today after practice that Quarless is healthy, and he looks good, yet no one has talked about him much from the team, so I am going to talk about him. Is he this week’s secret weapon to be bestowed upon the San Francisco 49ers?
Rather it’s this week or next week, or whenever week, when Quarless comes back and is still the monster blocker he was prior to his injury, he will add a physical, tough as nails dimension to the offense, and in doing so will help the defense out by helping the offense move the chains, keeping the Packers defense on the sideline.
• Eddie Lacy: No one position can change the image of a football into a bruising, take no prisoners reputation, than that of running back. Second round rookie back Eddy “The Big Bang Theory” Lacy is a bruising, punishing-type runner, yet at 5-11, 230 pounds, he has nimble feet and a quick first step, and an exceptional spin move.
Lacy is a tough guy. He plays through pain, is always accountable to his teammates, yet off the field he is soft spoken, humble, and quiet. His family was victims of Hurricane Katrina, so when people have questioned his love of the game, he simply has, for someone his age, seen and gone through things much more important than football, and some mistook that for lack of passion.
Fortunately for Green Bay he was sitting there for the taking late in the second round, and the Packers grabbed him.
Starting Sunday, Packers Nation will be glad they did.
These five additions all will bring attitude, toughness and physical play to a team lacking in so much of that last season. This, combined with the expected improvement from within the roster, will make for an exciting year, and it all starts this coming Sunday in San Francisco.