Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mike Daniels Deserves His Own Post

With the exception of CB Tramon Williams, I've been negative about the Green Bay Packers' defense every time I've written about them over the past three weeks. But another defender who deserves a mention for his solid play while the rest of the defense struggles is DE Mike Daniels.

2013 1st round pick DE Datone Jones hasn't yet emerged as a consistent inside pass rusher, but Daniels has developed into a player who's consistently after the quarterback. I was concerned when they drafted him back in 2012 that he's a little too short (he isn't a threat to knock down a pass attempt) and he was injury prone in college. He still isn't batting down passes (zero pass defenses in 2013) but he's stayed healthy and he's as good as rushing the passer in the NFL as he was in college (9.5 sacks in his senior season).
After Week 8, Greg Bedard published a quote from DC Dom Capers how Daniels is using power and leverage to gain an advantage on most offensive lineman. He isn't the type of lineman that will use a spin move or speed on the edge to get into the backfield; he's usually just beating them with a bull rush. In that regard, he's a little different than other interior lineman who've played for the Packers. DE Cullen Jenkins had a variety of moves while DT Santana Dotson used his 6-5 frame to his advantage. Daniels might be using his short height to his advantage; his 6-0 frame gives him better leverage against taller offensive lineman. And that big Week 8 game he had came against the Vikings in Minnesota, so he might have success against them again in this weekend's rematch.

As of Week 11, he's ranked as the seventh best interior rusher in Bedard's Pressure Points column with 4.5 sacks, 16 hurries and 5 hits on the season. While the defense has struggled, at least the team has appeared to have found someone who consistently provide an interior pass rush for the first time since 2010.

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