The defensive end position in a 3-4 defense is not a glamorous one. Stop the run and command a double-team are the characteristic over-generalizations of that base defense. But the Packers need not fear getting creative, largely due to the fact that Daniels is so good at his job. In the pass-happy NFL defenses are defined more by sub-packages than the base. Daniels ferocity commands double-teams to the extent that, Sam Shields’ interception in the end-zone began with Daniels taking on two blockers and allowing both Clay Matthews to come free from the outside and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to get pressure on Cassel, causing an errant throw. The Cowboys had the right play on, Dez Bryant was open…the throw was hurried. The Cowboys got nothing out of that exchange and the offense could continue with its game-plan unfazed.
Probably my favorite thing about Daniels though is just the attitude that he brought to a Packers defense that had some talent, but seemed to want to play finesse defense. Technique and fundamentals are of course important to the defense, but on defense in particular, attitude plays an important part. Mike Daniels talks and walks the talk, getting in players’ heads and just plain being a bully on the field. We had needed that for a long time and while Clay Matthews brought some of that much needed attitude, it is important to have a beast up front wreaking havoc…I’m glad the Packers have Daniels locked up.
Last year, the Packers defense came on strong after struggling for the first half of the season. This year, the defense has been the stalwart and we are hopeful that the Packers’ offense is about to come on strong. If that happens and the Packers’ defense turns it up a notch, led by Daniels…this season could still be something special.
Feel free to give a congrats to Mike Daniels or mention a favorite aspect or play of his in the comments below.