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Mike Daniels Continues to Break Stereotypes in Second Year with the Packers

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Mike Daniels Continues to Break Stereotypes in Second Year with the Packers

Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels made a modest but promising contribution his rookie season in the NFL last year with 12 tackles two sacks.

His season was highlighted by a 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown in a game against the Detroit Lions last December, but Daniels' goals for his second year in professional football are focused on bigger and better things.

"I'd like to make some more tackles," said Daniels in an appearance Monday morning on Cheesehead TV's Railbird Central. "The touchdown was more of a gift, but making big plays would be ideal."

Moreover, Daniels continues to break stereotypes in regards to being a defensive lineman of smaller stature in the NFL.

Checking in at 6-0 and 294 lbs., Daniels is a couple inches shorter and quite a few lbs. lighter than the typical defensive lineman who plays football to make a living.

Just because he's smaller, however, makes Daniels no less of a player. And he thinks his size can actually be an advantage.

"If you ask many offensive linemen, they'll tell you, the guys they like to block the least are the shorter, active, more powerful guys who all fit that bill," said Daniels. "If you look around the league, there's quite a few guys that are vertically challenged, so to speak, and they play pretty well.

"Geno Atkins, the guy from the Bengals, comes to mind. John Randle is a Hall of Famer. He might have been smaller than me weight-wise, and he's about 6-0, 6-1. "

As far as Daniels is concerned, the stereotype goes beyond just defensive linemen. You don't necessarily have to be either tall or heavy to play in the NFL, as a couple high-profile quarterbacks have also helped to prove.

"At some point people will stop pointing that out," said Daniels. "As Drew Brees said about the quarterbacks, he was referring to Russell Wilson, and Jim Kelly said the same thing that short quarterbacks have had success. So you've got to stop using that against a guy at some point. But I have to carry the torch as being a quote, unquote undersized defensive lineman."

With the Packers spending a first round draft choice on a defensive lineman in UCLA's Datone Jones this past April, Daniels is going to have increased competition for playing time this upcoming season.

Of course, last year's second round draft choice Jerel Worthy is out of the picture in 2013, at least in the early going. After suffering a torn ACL late last season, Worthy is a good candidate to start the season on the PUP list.

With Daniels under contract for at least the next three seasons, his future is bright. There's currently five defensive linemen on the Packers roster whose contracts expire after the 2013 season (B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson and Johnny Jolly), and it's a good bet they won't all be back next year.

Known for being small but explosive, Daniels is working on being a well-rounded player this offseason. While some defensive linemen noted for their quickness tend to be situational pass rushers, Daniels is making a concerted effort to defend the run too.

"You need quickness to play the run as well," said Daniels. "Those guys doing the running, you kind of have to catch up to them to knock them off their path, so they don't get to the linebackers. I think I've acquired some quickness as well, but things I do to perfect my craft and make sure I'm an all-around player is study a lot of tape, take my individual coaching seriously, take the techniques seriously."

With such heavy emphasis on the nickel and dime subpackages in Green Bay, it will be an uphill battle for Daniels to find playing time in a scheme that more often than not, employs only two defensive linemen on the field at any particular time.

But Daniels understands his strengths and weaknesses. He knows he has to exploit the former and minimize the latter.

"I don't have the 340-pound anchor or the 6-6 length," said Daniels. "So I have to play my strengths."

Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (48) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lou's picture

Like John Randle and Jared Allen he has a motor that won't quit. In addition he has terrific agility as shown on both his fumble recoveries last year, you can tell at one time he was a fullback. With Worthy under achieving last year he balanced the draft by over achieving. Someone with his attitude will continue to improve.

Idiot Fan's picture

Sorry Brian, it's already been firmly established by the CHTV commentariat that anyone who doesn't have ideal height or weight should be cut immediately. This guy can't possibly be a PLAYMAKER.

Evan's picture

He'll never play another down for the Packers...

Point Packer's picture

And his weaknesses will be highlighted during our 0-3 start...

cow42's picture

I'm assuming you mean that his weaknesses as a SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER will be highlighted during the 0-3 start.

Dude won't be on the field during any meaningful snaps.

I guess that's what's so great about the Packers... their fans will get excited about the 6th/7th best DLman (of a poor DL group, mind you).

Jamie's picture

"I guess that’s what’s so great about the Packers… their fans will get excited about the 6th/7th best DLman (of a poor DL group, mind you)."

"their fans"

Lil slip there huh cowsh!t??

Not that I didn't peg you for a trolltard a year ago.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

"...their fans"

Like Jamie said, there's your smoking gun. The dude is pure Troll. Can you guys please stop dangling these hilariously quippy 9er innuendos out there now, so he'll go fuck off?


cow42's picture

yes - "their fans"... as in fans of the Packers.

how would you have phrased it? are you one of those "OUR fans" guys? so you're on the team now?

if you aren't an actual Packer, then you are one of THEIR FANS.

i am one of THEIR FANS (just an angry one).

zeke's picture

"i am A TROLL (just an angry one)."

Fixed it for you.

MarkinMadison's picture

"Sorry Brian, it’s already been firmly established by the CHTV commentariat that anyone who doesn’t have ideal height or weight should be cut immediately. This guy can’t possibly be a PLAYMAKER."

Who ever said that? But if you think size doesn't matter, then you are kidding yourself. For every Drew Brees who makes it big in the NFL there is a Doug Floutie who didn't, and another 10 guys no one has ever heard of who didn't even get drafted.

I like Mike Daniels. He is not an every down player in this system. If you put could his motor in 6'5" 300 lb. frame is there any doubt that he wouldn't be more effective as an every down, 3-4 DE?

Idiot Fan's picture

Nobody is saying that size is unimportant. But there are those among us who will just look at a guys measurables and declare once and for all time if he can be good or not. That is crap. A smaller guy may have a harder road to travel, but there are plenty of success cases in the league to suggest that some guys deserve a chance.

jeremy's picture

Are you trying Logic?

It's been clearly established that won't work. I think Hyperbole and Hasty Generalization was what you were looking for ;)

MarkinMadison's picture

I think Idiot's original posting is the height (pun intended) of generalization. I'm glad his response showed appropriate nuance. I should have just looked at it as sarcasm and let it go.

cow42's picture

give him a chance? sure.

but you intimated that he was a PLAYMAKER.


he's a potential situational backup. nothing more.

Chad Toporski's picture

"but you intimated that he was a PLAYMAKER."

Not really. He implied that he has a chance to be a playmaker, rather than some people who think he has absolutely no chance to be one.

He's defying the absolutism that some people use when talking about the future of players.

Idiot Fan's picture

Chad, thanks. Reading is becoming a lost art form.

"give him a chance? sure."

Ok, sounds good...

"he’s a potential situational backup. nothing more."

Well that chance didn't last very long...

cow42's picture

when you said "a chance" i figured you meant a chance to make the team... anything more than that would be gravy for the guy.

he's a nobody.

there are a million Mike Daniels'.

cow42's picture

"Reading is becoming a lost art form."

didn't you sarcastically state..."This guy can’t possibly be a PLAYMAKER."?

just sayin'

Chad Toporski's picture

Wow, cow... Take the inverse of the sarcastic statement:

"This guy could possibly be a playmaker."

Where does it say "definitely will be"?

brian's picture

I am a big Daniels fan. You could make an argument he was the toughest member of the D line last year. He scored a TD, had a decent pass rush, and made a few big stops in the run game. He beat out Worthy with ease. If the Freezer played with his effort the D line would be deadly.

Lars's picture

Ha, good point on Raji. Low effort player. Daniels was really the only DLineman playing hard against the Niners after Pickett got hurt. Raji was owned, and Neal was benched for most of the second half.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

I want huge bulky d-lineman that look the part. Daniels? He's just a football player. Makes plays. Hustles. But does he look the part? Like, say, Justin Harrell? No.

I say cut him.

cow42's picture

There are, of course, exceptions to any "rule" regarding height/size. But over the long haul, Daniels (and miscast players like him) will wear down.

Spin it any way you like... size is an important attribute for a 3/4 DLman to possess... and this guy doesn't have it.

Oppy's picture

Daniels isn't a 3-4 D lineman. He has been used almost exclusively in our sub packages as an interior DT in our 4 down lineman packages, and occasionally in our 2 down linemen nickle packages.

But hey, whatevs.

cow42's picture

It's scary to think that if a couple of guys go down, the Pack's gonna have to lean on the contributions of a 3/4 DLman this small.

Like I've said before - the Packers have more 4/3 DLmen than 3/4.

Oppy's picture

That's true, because the Packers have played less base than sub for the last three years...

Oppy's picture

Mike Neal, Whirling Dervish, if you don't like how this kids plays, you haven't watched him play.


dawg's picture

Neal will stick, because of his strength and new found agility--accordingly to Capers!?
Green said Perry needs to come in a new man?
Perry worries me!!
Hope he proves me wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nononsense's picture

Anybody saying this guy should be cut is smoking crack or trying to be funny. True he may not be a great fit in the 3-4 but they play less than half of their snaps in the base 3-4 so its kind of a moot point.

Defensive lineman not picked in the first round rarely have a great impact in their first season so look for a big jump from Daniels in his 2nd and 3rd seasons. Hopefully hes 100% healthy and no longer dealing with any shoulder problems that he dealt with last year coming out of college.

With Jones, Daniels and the rest of the DLine in a contract year I expect the Dline to be more of a strength this year than it has in the recent past.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I find it funny that we are still basing everything on a players ability by his size. I'm not saying Daniels will be a pro bowl player, but I'm not saying he won't make the roster either.
I was impressed with his ability as a pass rusher. Players make their biggest leaps from year 1 to year 2. One of the hardest positions to come in and play as a rookie is DL. He showed promise. That's what you ask for from rookies.
He is undersized, but with the Packers he doesn't have to be a 3 down player. If he can become a valuable role player, that will be more beneficial then anything.
Unless he bombs in training camp/preseason he will make the roster.

dawg's picture

Daniels, just a guy! nothing special!
To small. Not enough effort. No speed!

al's picture

that's why thay play the game will he or wont he ?

dawg's picture

Daniels only hope is to put more weight on his frame, to anchor, and then find a fineness style to release. Pickett style,
Just to small. ?
BUT, they said the same about Jenkins.

Point Packer's picture

Randall Cobb is too short too - BTW. Guy doesn't have a chance.

cow42's picture

so you're saying that size at the WR position is just as important as it is on the DL.

got it.

Point Packer's picture

Didn't say that. Size is a factor at all positions and there are surely stats that show undersized players have less of a likelihood to be successful that those that are considered a prototypical height/weight for their position.

What I am saying, is that at the end of the day, there are exceptions to every rule. Randall Cobb was deemed as too short to successfully play WR in the NFL, which is why he slipped to the late second round.

There are numerous examples of undersized d-lineman who have become very good to great NFL players.

Your continued pounding of the size/weight drum is getting old - as are you in general.

michelle's picture

Brian you should just shut down this blog, too many jerks and creeps ruining things for the fans that would like to intelligently respond to your stories.

cow42's picture

this is so pathetic.

just stop with the whole... "if it's not pro-Packer, it's unintelligent" crap.

this article is about a late round undersized defensive lineman. some people think this player has the potential to become a playmaker... want to know why they think that? i'll tell you... BECAUSE HE PLAYS FOR THE PACKERS!

i look past the fact that he plays for my favorite team and look at what he actually is... A SPECIAL TEAMS/BACKUP TYPE GUY.

nothing wrong with that.

to think he might be anything more than that is wishful thinking. there is no reason behind it.

even thinking for 1 second that Mike Daniels could become a difference making sort of player is what's really unintelligent.

he would not start for a single team in the NFC North... not one.

Stroh's picture

Dude you got your red and gold goggles on 24/7!You dint think ANY Packers will EVER be worth a damn!! Go to a 9ers site youll fit right in.
Please be honest w yoursef... Your clearly NOT a Packer fan!! All you do is praise the 9ers and rip everything about the Packers! Quite being a troll.f

cow42's picture

Please explain to me why i am not a Packer fan.

Do I think the Packers have some good players? Yes.
Do I think they have quite a few holes? Yes.
Do I think that some Packer fans believe some Packer players are better than they actually are? YES!
Do I think that the 49ers are better than the Packers? Yes.
Does that mean I am a 49er fan? No. I think that there are at least 8 NFL teams that are clearly better than the Packers... doesn't mean I'm a fan of any of those teams.

Why do I think that the Packers are looking at a sub .500 season? Here you go...

1. In my opinion, three of the 5 starting OLmen are bad. Moving them around won't change that.

2. I do not trust the coaching staff. McCarthy is horrible at in-game adjustments. He wins against teams with lesser talent. He loses to teams that have equal or better talent. Capers is past his prime. Good defensive coordinators RARELY have games as embarrassing as the ones he's recently had in the playoffs.... For Dom, those types of games have become commonplace... expected, even. Every team on next season's schedule (save for the Browns) has the potential to drop 35+ on Dom.

3. The schedule is the most difficult I have ever seen. It's borderline unfair.

4. The offense has no balance. Rodgers refuses to check down, and the running game is a joke. I do not believe that the rookie RB's will solve anything. Same crappy OL, same guy calling plays.

5. The LB core is Matthews a shit-ton of question marks. The chance of Perry actually panning out is slim (couldn't beat out Walden). The chance of Bishop returning and being effective is slim. The chance of Hawk ever being anything more than a journeyman player is zero. The chance of Jones becoming a difference maker is slim. Manning, Lattimore, Moses, blah blah blah... all special teams players.

6. Safeties are horrible. Burnett is an average starter. The rest are just a pile.

7. The following DL players scare absolutely no one...

Wilson (J.A.G.)
Pickett (nice player, but not a field tilter. no one game plans for Pickett)
Raji (lazy, overrated)
Daniels (situational guy at best)

Stroh's picture

Thanks for making my point for me! No Packers is worth a damn nor will he ever be. Yet despite the incredible lack of tslent on the on the roster znd coaching staff the Packers have the best winning % and a SB title in the last 3 yrs

Idiot Fan's picture

...because a guy is all he's ever going to be after one year of play?

I wish you had been around here in, say, 2006 so we could have heard all the declarations about what Rodgers wasn't going to be based on what he was at that point. I can hear it now...


djbonney138's picture

Cow, why do you capitalize the beginning word of every sentence in one comment section and then in another you don't do any of them? Do you get so mad you can't hit the shift key? Just curious...

trvs's picture

I really dont ever agree with cow42 because I am more of a glass half full kind of guy, but he usually brings some interesting comments to the table...

All we can do is wait and see.

dawg's picture

I agree trvs,

Cow---(but he usually brings some interesting comments to the table)

If you can't question authority, or the so called arm chair know it alls, why the fuck would we even be here? Because we care!
Because some , don't fall into the sheeple type, and then branded trolls because they question? REALLY?
Lombardi was very critical, and last I checked, was voted #1 coach of all time by ESPN! But what the fuck do they know!

zeke's picture

While I don't believe that posting comments on a football team's fan site is exactly questioning authority, I do think that posting nothing but "your favorite team/player/coach sucks" simply for the sake of getting a reaction does make one a troll.

dawg's picture


Mikeh's picture

To be fair Daniels may not be much of a player but we've established that the whole of the roster is pretty mediocre, they have bad coaches and a sub-standard GM so he fits in well.

Makes you wonder how of the last 4 seasons, they've been one of the most successful teams in the league doesn't it ?

Amazing how far luck will take you.

Or Cow doesn't have a clue.

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