Nov 23, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterbackTeddy Bridgewater
(5) is hit by Green Bay Packers defensive endMike Daniels
(76) during the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Daniels & Micah Hyde
After getting pumped up and making a huge improvement over their early season performance in the Chicago and Philadelphia games, the Packers defense fell back to earth somewhat. It wasn’t a terrible performance, but not close to what many fans probably expected after the great play in those Bears and Eagles matchups.
Part of that was injuries knocking a few players out (Nick Perry for one) and part was just a bit of coming back to earth after some high-level play. With everyone dropping a bit in performance, someone needed to step up for the defense. While everyone played a part, two guys stepped up bigger and made impact plays when they were needed: Mike Daniels and Micah Hyde.
Since the offseason, Daniels has been stepping up as a vocal leader on a team that isn’t exactly full of them on the defensive side of the ball. His play has been right up there in terms of most impactful defensive players on the team too, with Sunday being a perfect example: 1 sack and a handful of quarterback hits and hurries.
Oct 26, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Green Bay Packers free safety Micah Hyde (33) before a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Hyde has also been at the center of improvement on the defensive side of the ball, though on the back end. He started the year as a starting safety, but is currently working more of the nickelback role and in the return game. His skills were on full display again, with an early interception of Teddy Bridgewater. He also garnered four tackles and a sack on the day to help secure the win.
Neither of these two is a huge name at their position, but they are vastly important to a defense that has a tendency to struggle at times. Though offense is the calling card for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers and Co can’t do it alone; they need the defensive side to hold up their end and make impactful plays on occasion.
Against the Vikings, moreso than any other players back there these two guys were able to step up. If the rest of the season is any indication, it shouldn’t be a surprise to continue seeing them right there with Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, etc., as the most important players on that side of the ball going forward.