GREEN BAY—A day before the pads go on, Mike Daniels set the tone for what’s ahead.
Daniels continued the aggressive dialogue he launched this past spring. He huddled with a group of reporters in the Packers locker room on Sunday and further challenged himself and his teammates to be physical.
“We’re going to make them bow to us every day,” he said, apparently referring to either the Packers offense in general or specifically its offensive line. “They need to feel the same way. If we swing, they’ve got to swing back. It starts here.”
At the heart of Daniels’ words is an edge the emerging defensive lineman is attempting to bring to his teammates. He wants the Packers defense to play with more grit.
“I remember when I was too small to play defensive line,” Daniels said with an edge in his voice. “It’s something to build off,” he added of his performance last season, his second in the NFL.
For much of last season, Daniels and 2013 first-round draft pick Datone Jones were used as nickel pass rushers. When Daniels was reminded of that fact on Sunday, his face tightened.
“Me and Datone are football players. We’re not nickel rushers. I have full faith we can do everything,” Daniels said.
What is it that’s causing Daniels to assert himself as the vocal leader of the Packers defense?
“Young guys have to earn the right to talk,” he said. “I came here to play football. I came here to eventually start. I’ve been waiting for this. I’m certain about myself and the guys lining up with us, that we can get the job done.”
Following two days of practices in shells, the Packers will dress out in the real stuff for an 8:20 a.m. practice on Monday that’ll take camp to a higher level of intensity and competition. Daniels welcomes the full-contact drills and christened them with full-contact words on Sunday.
He talked about the Seahawks being accused of hitting too hard in OTAs a year ago. “Nobody accused them of hitting too hard in the Super Bowl, did they?”
What’s different about this year’s Packers defense?
“Attitude. It’s flat out attitude,” he said. “Everybody is glad to put the pads on.”
Monday can’t get here quickly enough. Additional coverage - July 27