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Cory's Corner: I'm Excited For Mike Daniels

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Cory's Corner: I'm Excited For Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels has been the fiery engine for the Packers defense for a few years now. 

Yet, many people still thought over the offseason that it would be a good idea to save his $10.7 million cap hit for this season and cut him loose. 

Tom Silverstein even hinted in Aprilthat Daniels may be traded because his physical attributes don’t fit the profile of what general manager Brian Gutekunst wants. 

That’s true. At 6-feet, Daniels is the smallest starting defensive lineman in the NFC North.

But don’t judge a book by its cover. Even though Daniels is ranked as the 71stdefensive lineman according to Pro Football Focus, think of Daniels as the opposite of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. There are plenty of people that rave about Clinton-Dix’s stats but miss the big picture in how many tackles he shies away from. Daniels doesn’t have the stats because he is too busy occupying offensive linemen.

Yet, he was still able to be ranked 18thin hurries last year with 27, which is tied with Carolina’s Kawann Short, who is ranked 23rdoverall for his defensive line grade. 

This isn’t going to be earth shattering or deep analysis, but Daniels is sneaky good. He can easily be overlooked during the game because he is busy doing other things.

And let’s not forget that Daniels is entering his eighth season. If something needs to be said on defense, he is the one that says it. And that’s exactly what that unit needs — a leader to keep other guys in line. Especially because the majority of that side of the ball is either really young or stepping into a new situation. 

There are some that say that’s where defensive coordinator Mike Pettine should step in, and he is obviously guiding the youngsters and newbies as best he can. However, Pettine can’t be on the field. Daniels has inherent value as a player-pseudo coach. 

Daniels isn’t even close to being as talented as Kenny Clark but Daniels is going to play a big role in how rookie Rashan Gary develops. And that’s probably the main reason why Gary will succeed. Daniels will show Gary what it takes to win in this league — the things he needs to sacrifice and the mindset he needs to have. And Daniels is the person that people generally should listen to, because I wouldn’t want to meet his bad side when things go sideways. 

So when you see Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith consistently causing problems at the line of scrimmage next season, make sure to see who is leading the charge. I wouldn’t be surprised if that person is Mike Daniels. 



Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (38) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Turophile's picture

It's kind of a fluff, offseason optimism piece, but it's also a nice counter to the "he is done" or the "he costs too much" stuff you see. I'm down with that.

TheVOR's picture

So he's under contract, and he's in his contract year, that should ll lead up to one final nice season in Green Bay for Mike. He won't be back next season, but I hope he has a great year.

Coldworld's picture

I have believed for some time that Daniels is a classic example of a player who will benefit from not having to play nearly every down. This year, he should be fresher allowing his power and speed to be utilized more effectively. I believe that opportunity posed the potential for him to have a marquee year. Sadly, that will probably mean it will be his last in GB.

greengold's picture

I couldn't agree more. Conversely, his lower rankings amongst other DL are more due to the severe lack of quality personnel on the front 7 these past years, and an ineffective offense, compounding what others might see as lesser play. Daniels and Clark had to have been worn out last year, along with the rest of our D.

This is going to be a whole new world we will be seeing this season for our Packers defense. More quality depth than I can recall since 2010, maybe going further back... at nearly every position.

Mike Daniels will benefit from being part of a true rotation. I think he is going to be a monster this season.

MarkinMadison's picture

If Daniels can stay healthy this year he is going to be scary. I'm not going to say that he is going to take a jump up because it is a contract year - his motor is too high for that to be needed. Looking at the increased youth and talent in the front seven, he is going to get some opportunities. Probably more than he has ever seen.

BradHTX's picture

I’m excited for breakfast.

Handsback's picture

Daniels got a little banged up last year. Can he recover and become the player he was? Nobody can answer that, but to say a 90% Daniels is still better than any player that is left on the Packer's bench is enough reason to keep him.

Savage57's picture

I'd like to see Mike Daniels put together a solid season, complemented by total silence on how bad he is.

Lare's picture

Daniels should be better this season because the players around him are better. Opposing offenses won't be able to just double-team Daniels & Clark as they'll have to be blocking the Smith's, Gary, Fackrell & Martinez.

RCPackerFan's picture

With Clark and the additions of the Smiths and Gary its easy to forget about Daniels. Especially after he is coming off a year ending injury.

One of the things about Daniels is that the past few years he has only had Clark to work next to. He hasn't had anyone else to work around. Mathews became a shell of himself. Perry had one good year. Wilkerson got hurt early last year.

With the additions of the Smiths and Gary, to go along with Clark, Daniels has a lot of guys to be able to really do some damage with. And lets not forget about the younger players that are looking to emerge. Lowry, Adams, Lancaster, Brown, Looney and Keke are all guys looking to take steps.

The part I'm excited to see is how Pettine uses all of these guys. With Daniels and Clark, to go with the Smiths and Gary. We should see a lot of different looks along the front. I'm really looking forward to seeing the defense this year! And it all starts up front!

Freezn's picture

Our front 7 should be pretty scary for apposing offenses. it will be fun seeing the apposing quarterbacks being planted in the dirt by our defensive front 7 gardeners

murf7777's picture

I love guys like Daniels, they leave it all on the field....I’m going to miss Matthews for the very same reason.

stockholder's picture

Sneaky Good? Sorry Cory, but I agree with Tom Silverstein. It is a good idea to save $10.7 million. Because his physical attributes don’t fit!!! Daniels isn’t even close to being as talented as Kenny Clark, is correct. We can't keep over-paying guys who are an injury risk. The DT is not a Leadership position. He's part of the Capers system. And he's also part of the losing for the last eight years. Are we suppose to get use to average numbers, and overpay the position? I think he's been steady. But the standards Daniels is setting, just isn't making me bubble over with enthusiasm. We do have to win in the trenches. But the priority is Clarke, not Daniels. The packers must not tie themselves up. Remember Raji and Picket showed that same excitement. And how did that turn out.

Rak47's picture

He's not as good as Clark but is the second best lineman on the team and the most experience as well. Daniels only played in 10 games last year due to some nagging injuries, but how quickly people forget he was in the Pro- Bowl the year before, in 2017. Sorry, Stockholder but some people never learn from the past and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over until they die. I heard a lot of the same arguments when they released Cullen Jenkins a year or two too early. So you think you're just gonna replace a pro bowler like that! And everything will be peachy, right? And what if Clark gets injured what then? If that were to happen and Daniel's was gone we might get to see a very promising defense implode.

stockholder's picture

Jenkins was a mistake. Is Clarke, Jenkins? Jenkins was younger and I was upset when he was let go. Replacing a pro Bowl= who didn't show it last year. Raji was a pro Bowler. And so was Pickett. The DL was the strength of the team, by some before the draft. You argued against taking a DL. And now we have to keep Daniels because nobody is better. Being sentimental is waiting for disaster. Implode is a big assumption in a new defense.

MarkinMadison's picture

Nobody is arguing to sign Daniels to a three-year extension. It is not an either/or proposition for this year at least.

stockholder's picture

What happens if Clarke gets hurt this year. Bet the Packers don't sign him. He'll get his money next year whether he gets hurt or not. Implode?

Coldworld's picture

Clark will get money whatever happens short of a threat to his career long term. Too young and too much talent. He is arguably already the best at his role in the league.

dobber's picture

Depends on the nature of his injury. If he gets sucked into a wood chipper? Probably not going to be in green and gold in 2020. Most injuries are recoverable these days except for the most severe ("total knee reconstruction", Joe Theisman compound leg fracture, etc.), but those injuries are pretty rare. I don't think it's likely he'll have an injury so severe that the Packers won't try to retain him even if he misses time.

Tundraboy's picture

Hope Daniels , like everyone else is healthy and we can go from there.

Lphill's picture

I like him but I doubt they re sign him.

sam1's picture

People run a man done for having a down year with injuries! Before he is torn done see what he does when not injured!

murf7777's picture

Sam1...I couldn’t agree more, a guy has one injury filled year and he is washed up. It’s a what have you done for me yesterday world especially in sports. I remember people praising him at the beginning of last year.

Freezn's picture

With or without Daniels our defense will have quarterbacks running for their lives and become very good gardeners planting runningbacks

Tarynfor12's picture

Daniels is the epitome of the story " The Little Engine That Could " however, though his engine still may have some impact at times or just appear to have depending on the lens one is viewing through, this little engine will have very limited track to perform up to any past performance.
The DL in the Packer present and future will not be dictated by one who will not be around going forward and his use or lack of need to do so, should be deep in the minds of Pettine and fans alike.

Tundraboy's picture

Wow. I wonder even if any of the 60s Packers would have met your exacting standards. Lol

dobber's picture

Wouldn't matter. Most of them couldn't read it, anyway.

Tarynfor12's picture


murf7777's picture

For those naysayers about Daniels YouTube (Mike Daniels Top 100 players in 2018). I think you will realize he still has great value to the Packers. The Top 100 is voted by his peers. He was Pro Bowl in 2017 and alternate in 2016. He's keeps teammates accountable. So, I don't think one injury filled year we should thrown him down the road. He's 30 and still has some gas left in the tank.....I'm hoping for another Pro Bowl Year.

Jack Vainisi's picture

Right now he's the second best DL. Let him play out his contract and go from there in 2020.

ILPackerBacker's picture

It is an insult to Daniels to compare his effort to CM3's effort last year. Daniels never quit on a play contrary to the other guy who quit on many and who was by the end of the season just another guy playing out the season and hoping for next year.

That was never Mike Daniels.
That was/is CM3

murf7777's picture

You don’t have to like Matthews but to say he didn’t give effort or to say I insulted another is not right or just. He was one of the best LB’s to ever play for the green and gold. You don’t reach that status without great effort.

Cubbygold's picture

Reading this article gave me flashbacks to all the articles on Gary in the days following the draft. 'don't look at his stats, opponents are focusing on him. And, his pressures are great'.

Hopefully all of these guys explode once defenses can't key in solely on them.

AgrippaLII's picture

I had the same thoughts...what kind of DC doesn't want a guy who has to be double teamed ? I would extend Daniels contract this year while it's still in the realm of a year someone will throw a number at him that the Packers won't be able to match !

Adorabelle's picture

He's under contract this year so lets see what he can do. But based on what the word appears to be he will have to do a lot to be still in Green Bay the next season.

MarkinMadison's picture

I'd say the opposite is true. For him to be in Green Bay in 2020 he will probably have to spend most of 2019 on IR. Only way his contract number will be low enough for the Packers to want to pay him.

dobber's picture

Possibly. Could drive his asking price down to a 'prove it' level. The issue is that he was a warrior for his first several years, but the number of games missed is starting to show...a couple in 2017...a handful in 2018. If he misses a handful of games in 2019, what's he worth when you need to pay Clark, too?

LambeauPlain's picture

Coach Smith extols the value of pressures/hurries. Yes, sacks are the splash plays he said, but pressures/hurries often lead to INTs that are far more of a difference maker than are sacks.

Iron Mike is a pressure machine because he NEVER quits until the whistle sounds.

Mr. and Mr. Smith are also big pressure guys. Gary should turn up the heat too. Mr. Daniels is going to thrive this year IMO. So will Kenny and Dean. And watch out for Keke...he had a great season in college last year pressuring QBs. And Lancaster raised some eyebrows.

If I was Adams, I would be worried about making the 53.

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