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Mike Daniels Leads the Packers Defense by Words and Example

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The Packers' most vocal leader is backing up his big talk with his play so far this season.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

As we've been doing each week, we're answering a question for Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk to preview this week's games. This week, Faulk asks us about leadership and focus:

To be blunt, Marshall, there's really only one answer at this point: it's Mike Daniels. The big defensive lineman has stepped up his vocal game this offseason, talking about how he's sick of the Packers' defense getting its "face punched in" during his first two years in the league. Daniels has made it clear that he will fight back, and he expects more from himself than from anyone else on the team, as evidenced by his comments following the week one loss to Seattle:

(The Seahawks) came and they brought it. We definitely have to respond better...I can only speak for myself, I know I played absolutely terrible...I'm looking forward to getting back to the drawing board, back to the lab, and improving my game...I'm not happy at all right now...I can look at the 59 plays I did bad and learn from it, and look at the two plays I did good and say, "okay, that's where I made the right moves, the right steps."

To start the season though, Daniels' play on the field has spoken just as loudly as he has off it. According to Pro Football Focus, Diesel has recorded eleven total tackles in two games, including one sack, five combined QB pressures, and ten "stops" (negative plays for the offense). He has graded out through two games as the fourth-best 3-4 defensive end in the league, and his stellar play as the one-technique tackle against the Jets after the Packers shifted to a 4-3 Under defense was among the keys to the Packers' defense's turnaround in that game.

While Aaron Rodgers may lead the offense because of his knowledge of the playbook and his ability to dissect defenses, Daniels is the heart and soul of the Packers defense, and that unit clearly takes its lead from him at this point.

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