GREEN BAY, Wis. – Don’t get Mike Daniels wrong, he’s not suggesting Matthew Stafford or Golden Tate should worry about dirty hits or cheap shots from the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night. But the defensive tackle made it clear he wants the Detroit Lions – and the rest of the NFC North – to feel their presence.
Much like this preseason, when he talked about wanting the Packers’ defense to play more like the Seahawks, Daniels said Saturday that he’s not happy that his team watched two of its star players – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams – get knocked out in the first two division games of this season.
Daniels stressed that there’s a difference between playing physical and playing dirty, and he wants his defense to be the former.
“We’ve had two division games, and we’ve had a guy get knocked out in each game,” Daniels said. “I’m like, ‘When are we going to retaliate?’ I’m not saying knock anybody out, but I’m saying make opposing offenses ... not too excited about having to line up across from us.
“That’s a rivalry game. These guys come in with bad intentions and bad blood against us. They knocked out one of our best receivers – one of the better ones in the league – out of the game. Dirty hit. Knocked our quarterback out. I don’t know how long he’ll be out. We’ve got to deliver some blows ourselves. Not saying knock people out but we need to let them know we’re here, let them know we mean business.”
The Packers' defense has struggled again this season. Through seven games, it ranks 23rd overall, 27th against the run and 16th against the pass.
Daniels spoke with admiration when asked about the Lions defenses of the past under former coach Jim Schwartz and players likes of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
“When Coach Schwartz was there, they had a really arrogant, violent, borderline-dirty type of defense,” Daniels said. “Something that was the complete opposite of us. They were really mean and tough and they would give us struggles. They got after us. That would really grind my gears quite a bit because I said, ‘We need to be like that.’
“They had Fairley and Suh and then when [Ziggy] Ansah got there and [DeAndre] Levy and their DBs, they were laying hits on our guys and knocking our guys out of the game and it would make me upset. I’d get mad. I’d say, ‘Why are we always the ones getting pushed around instead of us doing the pushing around?’ That’s where I developed that. It’s kind of the same thing with Seattle – developed that type of mean streak with them, especially as a defensive player. It’s like, ‘Hey, we can be like that, too.’”