Insider: Thumbs up to Daniels, down to Bostick
Third-year pro Mike Daniels is becoming one of the dominant personalities on the Packers' practice field and a strong presence in the defensive line meeting room, where the team no longer has long-time veterans Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly. Daniels is boisterous and highly competitive, and he's that way all the time. The Packers' defense is better for it.
"Mike's an infectious guy," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. "When guys first come in here — none of these guys are ever timid, but they kind of bide their time. This is what, Mike's third year? So there's a lot more younger guys than older guys."
But make no mistake, all the hollering in the world would mean nothing if he were an average player. He's not. He's become one of the Packers' best defensive players and is off to a good start in training camp, playing regularly in the No. 1 base defense as well as the No. 1 nickel and dime packages. In one-on-one pass rushing drills, he's 5-3, which is the best record of the defensive linemen.
And he's showing up against the run also — in a red-zone drill Friday, he popped halfback Eddie Lacy for what would have been no gain on a second-and-8 play.
"Your play speaks louder than any word you ever say," Trgovac said. "One thing NFL players will do is spot a (B.S.er). If a guy's just saying a lot of things and getting his butt whipped out there, when you are a leader, the first leader you are is a leader by example. ... (Daniels) is a strong, tough kid that can get off blocks. He only knows one speed. I just asked him in the gym, 'You fired up for tomorrow?' He said, 'I'm always fired up.' "
Brandon Bostick had a decent day of practice overall, including two touchdown catches on a day devoted mostly to the red zone — one against tight coverage by Jarrett Bush on a sharp back-shoulder throw from Scott Tolzien, the other after Aaron Rodgers scrambled for extra time.
But Bostick made one critical mistake that could cost a game. It happened during a 4-minute drill, in which the offense is trying to burn the last few minutes of the game with a small lead. Bostick caught a pass on third-and-9 for what would have been a huge first down, but Bush stripped the ball and the defense recovered the fumble.
"It's a great lesson because fortunately it happened in practice and we didn't wait until the game for that to happen," said Jerry Fontenot, the Packers' tight ends coach. "We talk about the main focal points in that situation in the ball game, and obviously the No. 1 thing is ball security. Regardless of if you're going to get the first down or not, you've got to hold onto the football. That's one particular situation where a turnover can absolutely devastate."
Did you notice?
■ Rookie receiver Davante Adams has been relatively quiet in camp but had his best day Friday. The second-round pick caught three touchdown passes in red-zone team drills. One was a 16-yarder from Matt Flynn on a seam route against first-year cornerback Antonio Dennard; another was a 6-yard touchdown against a blitz, when Rodgers hit him uncovered on a hot read for the short catch and run; and the third was on a back-shoulder throw from Tolzien on third-and-goal from the 4, with first-year pro Jumal Rolle in coverage.
■ Kicker Mason Crosby went 7-for-8 on his second live field-goal period of camp. His lone miss was from 40 yards, and his makes ranged from 33 to 53 yards. He's 14-for-16 in camp.
■ Though Mike Neal is primarily an outside linebacker after dropping his weight to 263 pounds, down from the mid-270s last season, the Packers still are practicing him as an occasional inside rusher.