Perhaps no player on the Green Bay Packers' defensive side of the ball made a greater leap last season than Mike Daniels.
The 2012 fourth-round pick led the line with 23 tackles and 6½ sacks despite only playing roughly half of the defensive snaps. Now, he wants more. If Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly aren't brought back, he's also ready to become a leader in a substantially younger room.
Daniels, now back home in New Jersey, took some time to talk with NFL Network on Monday morning to discuss his expectations for 2014, playing with Julius Peppers and Aaron Rodgers' leadership.
You can watch the entire segment here.
On what he needs to do to take another step in Year 3:
"If it isn't broke, don't fix it, so I guess I have to just continue to work as hard as I possibly can every day and whenever I decide to work out. I love the game of football. I enjoy being out there and it's not like a job to me. Everything I do is fun – from running laps to practicing to lifting weights, watching film. I just enjoy the whole experience."
On learning from veteran defensive end Julius Peppers:
"Well Julius, he's 34 years old, and he outruns everybody in practice. So I guess what I learned from him is that you have to bring it every day because he's a guy who definitely does it. At 34, playing defensive end, flying around faster than some DBs, linebackers, receivers, running backs – everybody. I definitely learn from that."
What advice he's given first-round draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix:
"I'm a pretty simple guy and the one thing I can tell you, and I've told him is: Come out there, give it everything you got and knock somebody out. We'll make it easy for you."
On playing with Aaron Rodgers:
"Aaron definitely takes control of things. We have two offenses: the offenses that the coaches call and Aaron's offense. Aaron's an awesome player. I remember watching him as a rookie, he would throw the ball 70 yards joking around during OTAs and all the veterans would say, 'He's just getting warmed up. It's OTAs. Wait until you see him during the season.' And they were right."
On how Rodgers is a quiet and reserved leader with the media, and whether that translates to the team:
"He's very much the same way, but when something needs to be said, he will say it and I definitely respect that about him."
On the toughest quarterback that he's faced outside of Rodgers:
"Anybody who's got legs. If you can run, I can't stand it. Just making my life harder."
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