Daniels, Defense Lead the Charge En Route to Packers Victory

Where Mike Daniels will be by the end of the year in the eyes of even the most casual NFL fans, nobody knows.

But after Sunday's win against the Seattle Seahawks in which Daniels led the charge with his stout defensive performance, he just continues being one of the most underrated players at his position in the league.

The reality is, Daniels was a special player for the Packers in 2015. He was a special player for the Packers even last year when the entire defensive unit as a whole didn't come anywhere close to the expectations set the year prior. In the midst of the blaring glare of mediocrity that was the Packers' defense in 2016, Daniels was one of the few bright spots.

His consistency, above a numerous amount of facets to his well-rounded game, is one of the biggest contributors.

Just this Sunday, Daniels helped stuff a once-potent Seahawks running game, engineered by former Packers running back Eddie Lacy.

He also put pressure on Russell Wilson on the Seahawk's first drive of the second quarter, forcing Wilson to overthrow receiver Tyler Lockett. He had a couple of Packers defensive backs beaten by a wide margin and was streaking down the right sideline.

Daniels' biggest play—and probably the biggest defensive play of the game for the Packers—came on the Seahawks' first drive of the second half.

After the Packers did virtually nothing with the ball after halftime, the Seahawks took the field at their own 21-yard line. What followed, was Wilson losing 10 yards of field position after a combined sack from both Daniels and linebacker Nick Perry. 

Mike Daniels (76) causing a fumble off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3). (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

Two plays later, Daniels earned his own sack along with a fumble after getting to Wilson for the second time in three plays. The tackle forced the fumble that was recovered by linebacker Kyler Fackrell, setting the Packers offense up at the Seattle 6-yard line.

Outside of Wilson breaking a 29-yard run late in the game, Daniels was a prime factor in helping halt the Seahawks' rushing attack.

The front seven with Daniels leading the charge put a damper on Lacy's return to Green Bay, holding him to an average of 0.6 yards per carry. He carried the ball five times and netted only three yards.

Daniels finished with seven total tackles, 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble. That isn't accounting for the handful of times he was constantly in Wilson's face seemingly each time he dropped back to pass or handed the ball off.

The mouthpiece and, to many, the heart and soul of the Packers' defense has tallied at least four sacks in five of his six seasons with the Packers. He's well on his way to doing so again, and possibly even doubling that.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (34)

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Bearmeat's picture

September 10, 2017 at 08:43 pm

Man, Daniels was a man amongst boys today!!! Now, the Seahawk OL is a trash fire, but our front seven looked REALLY good today. Next week against a far better offense will be telling.

Of course, I don't expect our offense to score only 17 for the rest of the year either.

Great team win today. GPG!

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NickPerry's picture

September 10, 2017 at 08:52 pm

We all knew the Packers D would be better, just not how much better. It's only one game but encouraging nonetheless. The whole D played an excellent game both against the run and the pass. The TOP was basically 40 minutes to 20. Take the 2 scrambles from Wilson away and they held them under 200 total yards.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:06 pm

What a game this one was just beyond great. The whole team played well, not the very best but so exciting to see the D pound on them.

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4thand1's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:06 pm

Nothing like pressure up the middle. For now seeing a defense is great.

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Siwi87's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:24 pm

Excellent job defense from top to bottom!

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Siwi87's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:25 pm

Offense will improve.....I do not wanna see their best till around mid-December anyway

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NickPerry's picture

September 11, 2017 at 04:52 am

Well maybe a little sooner but I get your point! : )

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Rossonero's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:29 pm

As I posted on here before the game, the Packers had to take advantage of a weak Seattle O-line, and they did. That's what counts -- exploiting an opponent's critical vulnerability (do not attack their strength) -- and they did that superbly.

The stats don't even capture all the times that Wilson threw the ball away at the very last second. Very happy with the result today. Although I personally like Eddie Lacy, I was glad we shut him down. To be fair though, most RBs can't run behind that bad of an O-line.

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Mojo's picture

September 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm

If the Packers D played, like they did today, against a stiff like Matt Ryan they would have had 7 or 8 sacks. Instead because of Wilson ability to escape they only had three.

This was the Packers best defensive showing I've seen in a long time. Not just Daniels but just about everyone.

If I took anything away from this game it was that this D might just be good enough to get GB to the SB.

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dobber's picture

September 11, 2017 at 07:38 am

Yeah, we need to temper our enthusiasm just a bit: this was not a strong offensive team the Packers beat today...at home...in the opener...as a rival (because Seattle really IS a rival for the Packers).

Next week, they play a much better offensive team...at their place...in their opener...as a rival for playoff positioning. Someone else said that if Matt Ryan, who isn't a statue like Eli but isn't a threat to run all over, was back there the Packers would've sacked him 7-8 times. True. But when they get a crack at Ryan next week, he's going to have a much better OL, so when they DO get pressure, they HAVE to bring him down or he'll be checking down to Freeman, Coleman, and Jones all day.

Let's savor this one. A great win. But the Packers will need to be at least as good next week in Atlanta.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:41 pm

Mike Daniels reminds me of John Randle with his effort and relentlessness. I always wished Randle was a Packer. Now we have our own version.

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Gianich's picture

September 10, 2017 at 09:59 pm

Daniels is special but that seahawks OL is terrible! Their defense was healthy and it slowed #12 and company but not enough. It came down to the trenches in which 76, 53, 52, and 97 dominated...They're a top 10 Defense in GB if they can stay healthy but the seahawks have a bottom 3 Oline regardless of health. 1-0 is nice!

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SpudRapids's picture

September 11, 2017 at 08:02 am

One thing I noticed is how the D pressured Wilson but also contained him. The most impressive thing was the D keeping their outside leverage... every time Wilson tried to escape he was headed off my the safeties and OLB keeping their containment. His only running came from escaping through the middle. That's a tough assignment as Wilson is far more mobile than 90% of the QB's they'll see this year.

Ryan is a statue in the pocket, if Daniels can do what he did against Atlanta he's going to be awfully uncomfortable.

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Since'61's picture

September 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Regardless of the status of Seattle's OL, which isn't good, I thought that the Packers defense played faster today than I have seen them in a long time. Our front 7 looked very fast and the pass rush kept Wilson off balance for the entire game. Daniels took over the game for a while and hopefully we'll have a player do that every week. Solid team win. Good job by the defense. Go Pack Go!

Thanks, Since '61

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Dzehren's picture

September 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

The defense won a game for A-Rod. Long time coming. Bring on ATL....

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 10, 2017 at 10:46 pm

Every year number 12 pays about 5 plays in the preseason and the offense comes out looking sluggish at the start. Thank goodness the defense played so well to get a great win.

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SpudRapids's picture

September 11, 2017 at 08:03 am

You're assuming that Arodge playing more preseason is the answer? What good is throwing the ball against vanilla defenses going to do for your timing/execution in an actual regular season game where you'll see exotic blitzes and actual defensive calls? It won't...

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Finwiz's picture

September 12, 2017 at 08:21 am

Yes! I said the same thing in the game chat.
Not enough preseason action avoids injuries, but it does nothing to help the timing and acclimation to the speed of game action.
You pick your poison by not playing any starters in preseason.

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erikgj's picture

September 10, 2017 at 10:47 pm

The s-hawk O-line is bad, but Wilson is super mobile. So that makes it significant accomplishment to my reckoning. In the past, just as a packer defender was about to close on Wilson, he would throw it away or make a play.

This time we hit him and hassled him. Hurt his timing and it affected his game. Wilson never seemed to have time in the pocket.

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 10, 2017 at 10:58 pm

The Seahawks D made the Packers O look worse than they are. The Seahawks O made the Packers D look better than they are. Field position problems also made the O less productive than it should have been. Being backed up inside your own five is always a tough place to start from. I expect to see a much better offensive performance next week.

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Spock's picture

September 11, 2017 at 04:37 am

All those who made comments about Daniels talking too much and not walking the walk (I remember the comments section being particularly harsh on him on one article, comments like "tough guys don't have to talk tough") can now (quietly) eat crow. The man is a beast and DOES back up his words. I was very impressed by the D this game. If the defense is even half as good as they played today this team will be SB bound when the offense gels. On to Atlanta (who had a tough time against the Bears?!).
A nice 'W' in the win/loss column to start the season.

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NickPerry's picture

September 11, 2017 at 04:55 am

It's amazing how much better Daniels is when he's actually got some help up front and 5 O-Linemen aren't just focusing on him.

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

September 11, 2017 at 06:16 am

Bingo! And Capers doesn't look as bad when he finally has more consistent talent.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 11, 2017 at 06:34 am

I was one of the first to suggest that Daniels was a $10M/yr player, so I don't have to eat crow on this, but I also feel that your comment belies your username. Daniels looked tremendous, but he also faced Seattle's worst OL, Glowinski. Moreover, Glowinski is just awful. If Jason Spriggs made an (insert practically any 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th string) OLB look like Von Miller or Vic Beasley, I'd mentally wonder how good that player actually was, and put an asterisk next to that performance. Daniels had a great game and deserves a game ball. I've suggested that Daniels is a top 5 3-4DE for some time now.

Clearly, the defensive line was stout against the run in particular. Still, of the other DL, only Kenny Clark made the stat sheet, and he had a grand total of 1 tackle and one batted down pass. My eyeball test suggests that there was plenty of interior push on passing downs, but it would be nice if the help to which Nick alludes showed up more tangibly in the box score.

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Spock's picture

September 11, 2017 at 09:23 am

TGR, Ouch. I will be the first to acknowledge that I don't know anything about other team's players, so I wasn't aware that (apparently) Daniels was going up against an 'inferior' player. Not sure why you felt the need to make a comment about my user name (I was actually nicknamed Spock by a HS teacher -it was when the series was Live on TV and he thought my questions were 'Spock like'), but whatever. All I know is by 'the eye test' the defense, and Daniels, looked good to me. Hopefully, we will have the D pass 'the eye test' next week as well!
Live long and prosper, TGR. :)

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dobber's picture

September 11, 2017 at 09:59 am

Still, no gimmes: an inferior opponent or not, he still needed to make plays.

...and he did.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 12, 2017 at 07:45 am

Sorry, Spock. I was out of line. I was going for the dispassionate emotionless angle and utterly failed. I actually didn't see the connection between Daniels having a career game and folks having to eat crow; he's been very good now though not elite for a couple of years now. (We have a bunch of folks in these comments lately wanting others to eat crow with considerable glee. I don't really get Daniels' value in the talk sense. Even if it has validity, do you have to be elite to be the talker? I never understood talking trash; many players talk trash regardless of whether they are great, decent or lousy players. I alluded to your user name because Spock wouldn't have needed a pep talk from some member of the bridge to make the correct decision or to act courageously. If it is just that Daniels is walking the walk now, does it matter, and if it does, isn't that premature? Hasn't he had great games before? I guess I still don't get the connection.)

My username comes from my high school Latin teacher as well. He wondered how I could be so-so on the grammar and conjugating while excelling on the translations. I am extremely literal: my son used to call me Spock - for the literal part, not the logical part - but after watching Guardians of the Universe, he has "downgraded" me to Drax (the Destroyer), who is extremely literal, but "not as smart as Spock." Children have a way of keeping one humble. And being the way I am, when my son started calling me Drax, even though I'd seen Guardians of the Universe, I didn't understand how I was like the guy in the James Bond movie. It went right over my head.

Daniels' other sack came against Joeckel, who didn't do well as a tackle, but has been moved inside to guard. Joeckel might turn out to be a good guard, but he is new to the position.

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Spock's picture

September 12, 2017 at 08:40 am

Thanks for the reply. I thought you might be going for the "logical" thing, but wasn't sure. I'm not a big fan of Daniels' trash talking either, but at least he seems to make plays. Now I understand your comment. :)

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Handsback's picture

September 11, 2017 at 08:17 am

Pick a difference maker on both teams it would have been Daniels for Green Bay and Thomas for Seattle. Both were just non-stop wrecking ball players yesterday.

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porupack's picture

September 11, 2017 at 10:16 am

Sorry to miss the game. Waah.

Would it be fair to give Dom Capers a game ball for unveiling his nitro package and have the guys ready enough to avoid miscommunications, blown assignments...and create confusion for shawks. I've been hard on DC in past, but more than happy to find such times to give him his due if he deserves. Any thoughts on DC after this performance?

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dobber's picture

September 11, 2017 at 10:28 am

No rookies or newbies starting or playing a lot of snaps on defense (I don't count House as a newbie). Man, I'd sure hope they'd know the assignments.

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Cartwright's picture

September 11, 2017 at 07:27 pm

Was Seattle's OL that bad or was our DL that good. If we get a repeat performance I think that question will be answered. We got a revenge game next week. Atlanta watch out

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 12, 2017 at 08:04 am

'Was Seattle's OL that bad or was our DL that good. '

Yes...

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Den's picture

September 13, 2017 at 01:24 pm

Daniels is awesome. Maybe he's learned to convert his wrestling skills and power to apply great leverage and effective technique vs O Linemen.
My concern is... at the end of the first half the D seemed to let up and Seattle drove it down the field and scored. This has been the problem in the past. D needs to keep a full speed effort on every down, or good offenses will pick them apart., and the momentum will shift in favor of the opponent.

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