Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Danield was the best player on a weak Packers defense last season with star outside linebacker Clay Matthews out, as he was a menace against the run and pass. One of the strongest players in the trenches, Daniels plays with the type of mean streak that makes him a feared opponent for interior offensive linemen, and his demeanor on the field helps make him a leader on defense. The Packers know he’s a valuable player, and his ability to rally the defense to play harder is also an asset.
After stating last year that the Packers need to send more “messages” to opposing offenses, Daniels has stated this offseason that he’s willing to hit someone on the team if they aren’t willing to play rougher. That’s the kind of identity Daniels wants the Packers defense to have, and I’m sure it will help them after yet another disappointing season on that side of the ball in 2013. Improvements were made in the offseason with the additions of Julius Peppers and talented rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Casey Hayward will also return to health at nickel corner.
Daniels said of playing “meaner”, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tyler Dunne, “I think that’s been our biggest problem on defense. So I’m personally going to really get the best out of everybody. I don’t care if I have to hit somebody before we get on the field.”
Teammate Andy Mulumba isn’t one to question Daniels’s intentions, and hopefully his fervor will become infectious and carry on to the rest of his teammates. With Matthews, Peppers, Daniels, Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy, Mike Neal, hopeful bounce-back player B.J. Raji, and potential second-year breakout pass rusher Datone Jones, the Packers have the pass rushing firepower to alleviate pressure off of a secondary that has the potential to be strong if the likes of Tramon Williams and Sam Shields can bounce back and Clinton-Dix can play as well as we expected him to. I don’t think the Packers defense will be good next season, but I think they will make significant improvements from last year.