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Packers' Mike Daniels sick of why 'nobody respects our defense'

NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Mike Daniels

Defensive tackle, Green Bay Packers

Born: May 5, 1989

Experience: Six NFL seasons

Interview by Alex Gelhar | Feb. 23, 2018

It felt great to get recognized for the Pro Bowl. And as far as All-Pro goes, oddly enough I've never even gotten an All-Pro vote. Not one. I don't know who the voters are, but I gotta take someone to dinner around here, because I'm definitely deserving.

But to go to the Pro Bowl finally, it was awesome because while I was down there, there were a few times guys said to me, "Oh there's no way this is your first Pro Bowl." "This is your first Pro Bowl? I don't believe you!" And I'm like, that's a great compliment, but ARGH! I knew I belonged down there, and I'm just glad my opponents respect me enough to feel the same way.

Not getting selected for the [Pro Bowl before this year] stems all from playing defensive tackle and the scheme I was in. You hold up double teams most of the game. I didn't play a lot of third down my first few years. This year I played 70 percent of third downs and went to the Pro Bowl. Shocking! The three years prior I probably played about 30 percent. Those things all played a factor into that. You look at some guys that have nine sacks, 11 sacks.

Then the reputation of our defense. Nobody respects our defense. They all talk about how terrible our defense is. So naturally, they're going to say, "Well, that's the players' fault," all the time. So there are a lot of factors that are not in favor of everybody who doesn't already have a huge name like Clay Matthews. Clay is Clay. But then you look at like, Blake Martinez led the NFL in tackles this year. Wasn't even an alternate. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been one of the better safeties in the NFL. He was never an alternate and was a Pro Bowler once. It's like, what do we have to do? There were just a lot of things that weren't in our favor.

It sucked. It sucked. I'm not used to not being in the playoffs. I've been in the league six years, going into my seventh year, I've played in 10 playoff games in six seasons. To not go, it made me realize how blessed and fortunate I am to have been able to be in the playoffs every year, like it was automatic. But this year showed me that it's not automatic. You can't rely on one guy to get that thing done. I'm actually glad we didn't go, because now it's a wake-up call to everybody. Let's get this thing done.

* * * **

(The comments in quotations are pre-draft profiles of Daniels, followed by his responses.)

"Daniels is undersized and gets engulfed by bigger blockers and double teams ..."
That's a lie.

"Lacks a stout anchor and can be redirected off the snap with underwhelming base strength ..."
Does that guy still have a job?

"Struggles to disengage with inconsistent hand use and power."
WOW. I haven't even seen that one. That must have been from a fan's blog or something, because there's no way a professional scout or analyst said something that stupid.

* * * **

I ate all of that up. And I said, "I'm going to make these idiots wrong, because that's idiocy." If you watch the film of the same offensive linemen (when I was drafted) who was going in the first, second and third round, those are the guys I was making my plays against. I definitely let that drive me. I'm glad you brought that back up, I'm going to have a good old workout tonight.

[I'd tell incoming rookies] to keep that chip on your shoulder. Let everything piss you off and let that chip continue to grow.

I've always had the right type of work ethic, or else I wouldn't have gone from being a guy with "underwhelming anchor and weak upper body strength" to being one of the strongest, most powerful defensive lineman or players in the NFL. How I go about my work is I like to stay consistent. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and I have a really good program and I like to stick to it.

I love Mike Pettine. He thinks exactly like I do. No screwing around, holds you accountable, I don't care how you feel about what I have to say, I'm going to speak the truth. I'm all about getting the job done, no excuses. And we're going to make the other team's life terrible for the next 60 minutes. And that's just how it's supposed to be. And to hear that from your coach, wow, I'm excited man.

I'm excited to play for him. I'm looking forward to it. Talking to him, he's really got that attitude, that nastiness that you want from anybody associated with the defensive side of the ball. Players, coaches, coordinators, whomever.

Coach Pettine's excited for our defense as a whole. He knows who I am, and he and I are on the same page on just about everything regarding football and what we want to get done and what we want to accomplish. He's excited, I'm probably more excited, but he'll say he's more excited, that's just one of the ways we're similar. But he's definitely ready to get things rolling and he knows the talent he has on this defense and take the chains off and let us go.

Josh Jones came in with some authority. The offensive guys hated him. And I said, "If you guys have a problem with him, come talk to me about it and we can handle it." You need guys like that on your defense that are wired that way. In Green Bay, typically, we haven't had a lot of guys like that, but the last couple of years, we've been bringing them in and he's definitely the poster child for that attitude.

There's no one who could beat me in a wrestling match, boxing match, any of that. Not in my locker room, I know that for a fact. I love those guys, but that's just a fact.

That's just who I am. I was [a leader] when I was 6, 16, 26. That's just how I'm wired. When something needs to get done and it doesn't get done, I take it personally. And that's just how you have to be. So it was really par for the course that I stepped into that role in the NFL because I was like that in little league, high school, college ... the NFL is no different.

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