Mike Daniels 2014 Report Card – Packers Player Grades

Green Bay Packers Report Cards, Player Grades

1) Introduction:  Mention the name Mike Daniels outside of Green Bay and you’ll probably get blank stares. But Packers fans know him, and they know him well. Without the efforts of Daniels this season, the Packers would have had one of the weakest defensive lines in the league.

2) Profile:

Mike Daniels

  • Age: 25
  • Born: 5/5/1989 in Stratford, NJ
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 305
  • College: Iowa
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 3

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Anchor the defensive line. With B.J. Raji’s season ending early and the rest of the line filled with unproven talent, a lot was resting on Daniels’ shoulders. While Daniels didn’t explode and catapult himself to a John Randle level of success, he was damn good, and met the lofty expectations set for him

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: According to Pro Football Focus, Daniels graded positively in 13 of the Packers’ 18 games, highlighted by a dominating effort against New England and a late sack of Tom Brady. It seems like forever ago, but with the Packers trailing the Jets 21-3 early and facing an 0-2 start to the season, Daniels really came to life and helped the defense get back on track in that comeback win. Some people might point to the Buffalo loss as Daniels’ lowlight. He really didn’t do much in that game, but overall, the defense was good that entire contest. To me, Daniels’ real lowlight came in the NFC title game. A little pressure from Daniels during the Packers’ collapse might have slowed things down a bit. Instead, he was nowhere to be found.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Without Daniels, this very well could have turned into another “Fire Capers” season. Daniels wasn’t getting a ton of pass-rushing chances early on, but that changed in November/December, and Daniels capitalized. Daniels’ relentless effort combined with his ability to stake out territory in the other team’s backfield and alter plays was indispensable for Capers and the D in 2014. Hopefully Daniels continues flying under the radar. I like it when he blows up a play, and fans of the other team are like, “Mike Daniels? Who the hell is that guy?”

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: God, I’m sick of writing about the playoff meltdown. I’d rather watch a Nickelback music video or darn socks instead of continually re-visiting whatever the hell happened in Seattle. But writing about the Packers is sometimes a dirty job, and somebody’s gotta do it. So, anyway, like every other player on the field, Daniels disappeared the final 4 minutes of the NFC Championship game. Yeah, he was solid against Dallas, but one play — just one play — from one of the Packers’ big-time players would have been nice late vs. Seattle.

7) Intangibles: Like Packers fans, Daniels was obviously fed up with the perception that the Packers defense was soft. He made this clear with some tough-guy talk during the preseason where he vowed the Packers defense would be better and threatened to beat up (metaphorically beat up, anyway) teammates who didn’t up their intensity. Daniels backed up all that talk with his stellar play. I’m usually not someone who’s impressed by bravado or sensational quotes players give to the press, but it was nice to see Daniels bring a little attitude. The calm and reasoned approach most in the Packers organization used when addressing the defense was getting tiresome.

Season Report Card (Player Grades):

(A-) Level of expectations met during the season

(A) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(C+) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  A-

——————

Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .

——————

  • Since ’61

    Adam – your point about Daniels making just one play during the Seattle meltdown is a microcosm of the entire Packer’s defense. In today’s NFL there are not any great defenses out there, at least not like the 60’s Packers, or the 70s Steelers or the ’85 Bears. Today the best defenses make stops when they need to, like Seattle’s. During the collapse, Green Bay’s best players could not stop Seattle’s best players. I have been saying for a long time that this defense needs a player who can and will make those stops, ala Reggie White or Nitschke. The defense needs a player who can take over a game, especially in crunch time. Daniels plays hard but as you correctly point out he disappeared like the rest of the defense during the 2 most critical series of the season. This needs to change for the Packers defense to become one of the better defenses in the league. Daniels deserves his grade for his effort. Thanks, Since ’61

    • croatpackfan

      Oh, Since. You know that I respect your insight and comments. But I really think we are to hard to Packers for that lost. I will be honest with you. After Russell Wilson scored TD to bring the game to 19-14 I was yelling in my room on TV: “Call the time out, call the time out!” It was so obvious that all of the Packers players stop playing. They hoped that somebody else will do what is necessary to finish the time, because for them, game was over. It was just time what was left on the clock! We had 13 years of experience player on the roster and we had rookies and all in between. There was no player who thought Packers can lose that game… That was problem. Not one player. Problem was in losing their focus. What is positive from that. It looks like Mike McCarthy, HC will contribute more to whole team during games, not just play calling. Every last player who was part of the team in Seattle and will play next season will never make that mistake again. Packers will have pedal to the metal next season for whole games… You will see different Packers players. We will play preventive defense, but that will be played with more energy than we ever saw… Take this as bold statement!

  • Razer

    Very generous but then again who doesn’t like the big talking Daniels. I can’t say that I watched game film of any one guy to make an informed evaluation. I suspect that against weaker O-lines Daniels probably showed well and against the better lines, he got buried. The fact that the D-line was getting run-over prior to moving Clay Matthews moving inside, suggests that the battle in the trenches was not being won. Not sure that our D-line was much more than ‘adequate’ this year and nobody consistently stood out in my mind.

  • croatpackfan

    I think well deserved grade…

  • Thegreatreynoldo

    I agree with the grade. Mine would be higher, an A. First, I think expecting, almost demanding, that Daniels “take over the game” in the last 4 minutes of the Seattle game is ridiculous. First, Daniels is not Reggie White, or Nitschke. Even the great ones are only able to take over some games, not every game.

    Second, Daniels exceeded my expectations by a considerable margin. In 2013, Daniels played more situationally. I was not convinced that Daniels could hold up against the run if forced to play full time. He did handle the run well. Some articles state that Daniels is in the top 5 for 3-4 DEs. I doubt that, but I do think he is very good. Not a blue, but a red+ player.