GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It's time for the Green Bay Packers to get mean.
At least that's what third-year defensive tackle Mike Daniels thinks his side of the ball needs.
Coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers spent months tweaking the defensive scheme this offseason in an effort to make better use of their personnel. But Daniels believes an attitude adjustment will go just as far in reviving a defense that slipped to 25th in the NFL in yards allowed and tied for 24th in points allowed last season.
"Every game one of our offensive guys gets knocked out, maybe two, so it's about time we returned the favor to other teams instead of just getting pushed around all the time," Daniels said after Tuesday's minicamp practice. "It's just a little bit of a different attitude. A little meaner. A lot meaner. Actually, being mean for once because, quite frankly, we haven't been. I think that's been our biggest problem on defense. So I'm personally going to make that my job to really get the best out of everybody. I don't care if I've got to hit somebody before we get on the field. If that's going to [tick] them off and they take it out on somebody on the other team, then so be it."
If anyone on the Packers' defense played mean last season, it was Daniels with his bull-in-a-china-shop style. After recording two sacks during his rookie season, he increased his total to 6.5 in Year 2 to quickly gain respect of his teammates and those around the league.
"Me, personally, being a leader, I'm looking to make the defense a lot meaner, get after guys a little bit," Daniels said. "A lot of times you look on tape the last couple of years some of our guys get shoved in the back after plays. I've seen it happen to some defensive linemen. Now that I'm older and I'm a little more vocal, that's unacceptable."
"If something has to be said, I'm going to say it," Daniels said. "If somebody has a problem with it, then we're grown men. We play a violent game. We get paid to be violent, so why not? If you deck somebody in the locker room because you had a disagreement, there's not going to be any sensitivity training. It's a barbaric sport, so that's how you're going to have to approach it. I'm tired of getting our face punched in by other teams. I'm not used to that."
There's reason to think at least some players are willing to follow Daniels.