Mike Daniels: Walking the walk


Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels raised the stakes and challenged his teammates earlier this summer to develop a mean streak, to take the game into their own hands and to make a difference … or somebody might get smacked.

Here’s what he had to say back in July:

"“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. “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.”"

We all remember his words and are hoping he, too, remembers what he said.

While the Packers defense had been showing vast improvement over the course of the past month, they were torched by Drew Brees and Mark Ingram last Sunday night when the New Orleans Saints spanked the Packers 44-23 and sent them limping into their bye week.

The defensive meltdown has Packers fans shaking their heads and calling for defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ noggin.

Mike Daniels makes a stop against the New York Jets. Jim Oxley photograph

But if there’s one defender who has lived up to his word, it’s Daniels.

On a defense that has been haunted by missed tackles, Daniels, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), has zero. He also leads all 3-4 defensive ends with 24 tackles. In addition, he leads the league’s 3-4 defensive ends with a stop rate of 11.9 percent. In all, he has 19 stops – a stop being an “offensive loss.”

Mike Daniels can’t be happy with the performance of the Packers’ defense, and he can’t be happy with having to bust his own butt when others around him have been pedestrian, at best.

Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Don’t get me wrong, several of his teammates have had moments – players like Julius Peppers, Tramon Williams, Morgan Burnett, rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and even A.J. Hawk have all had their “moments” this season.

But as a whole, the Packers defense has been inconsistent at best and just plain horrid at worst – especially against the run.

So, we can only wonder and only hope that Mike Daniels is reaching out to his teammates and standing behind his words.

After all, if the Packers had 11 Mike Daniels on defense, there wouldn’t be much head-shaking going on.

We don’t want Mike to be punching anyone other than opponents, but we sure hope he can get his teammates to take his words seriously as the team heads into second half of the season.

Here are the rankings of 3-4 defensive ends per Pro Football Focus …

"#NameTeamRun SnapsTacklesAssistsMissed TacklesStopsStop %1 Mike DanielsGB15924301911.92 Muhammad WilkersonNYJ17622822111.92 Jurrell CaseyTEN1802250168.94 J.J. WattHST1882133179.04 Fletcher CoxPHI14721201711.66 Vince WilforkNE1622031169.97 Sheldon RichardsonNYJ1601862116.98 Cedric ThorntonPHI1501652106.79 Ray McDonaldSF11015211210.910 Corey LiugetSD132144186.111 Ropati PitoituaTEN1051322109.512 Haloti NgataBLT138126175.112 Jarvis JenkinsWAS138121175.114 Jared CrickHST140116285.714 Justin SmithSF101115076.914 Cameron HeywardPIT1591150106.314 Ricky Jean-FrancoisIND97113199.314 Cory ReddingIND1311122118.419 C.J. WilsonOAK103106087.820 Cam ThomasPIT13181153.820 Chris JonesNE10781054.722 Kendall ReyesSD12875153.922 Tommy KellyARZ12473064.824 Allen BaileyKC13161064.624 Antonio D. SmithOAK13461064.526 Desmond BryantCLV11454132.627 Brett KeiselPIT9732033.1"