GREEN BAY – Across the Green Bay Packers locker room, the rival Seattle Seahawks are not held in warm regards.
Randall Cobb called them “a bunch of front runners” last December after taking a “cheap” shot from cornerback Jeremy Lane on a kneel-down before halftime. In the same game, former guard T.J. Lang accused defensive end Cliff Avril of punching him in a sensitive, off-limits area.
Annoyance is not universal, however. On the defensive line ward, where one of the Packers' leaders, Mike Daniels, resides, there is respect for the “process” followed in Seattle.
The Packers open their season Sept. 10 when they host the Seahawks. Three days before reporting to training camp last week, Daniels made his admiration public in a tweet responding to an article about Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman slinging practice-field vulgarities at quarterback Russell Wilson.
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“If you want a top-ranked defense,” Daniels tweeted, “then you HAVE to ruffle some feathers!! I respect this team’s process. PC culture is ruining football.”
Further explaining his comments Saturday, Daniels said there are lines not to cross on the practice field. No player, he said, should take “cheap shots” on a teammate. If a teammate is in a “compromising position,” be careful.
“Other than that,” Daniels said, “you want the practice to be spirited. You want guys that call each other out. ‘Hey, we just scored on you guys.’ Or, ‘Hey, you guys can’t move an inch on us.’ And you just want to keep bringing out the best in each other. We all have pride, and when you get called out for not doing too well, your pride is going to swell up and you’re going to respond by basically trying to shut your competition up. And if you can do that by challenging each other during practice, then it’s going to be awfully hard for anybody to challenge us on game days.
“You look at Seattle, they challenge each other, and you look at the way that team plays – and they haven’t always had the best offensive line – but those guys were gritty and they fought. And their defense, the way those guys just – people are legit scared of their defense. And that’s because of the way they practice, the way they hold each other accountable, and the way they get after each other.”
It shouldn’t be surprising Daniels craves the conflict-friendly nature he has heard and read about in Seattle. The undersized defensive lineman has built a career on being edgy. He’s happy being considered the angriest Packers player, if not the toughest.
Daniels prides himself in never crossing the line in practice, but he doesn’t hesitate to approach it.
“Any great defender,” Daniels said, “has had a penalty where their temper got the best of him. You can’t look at any great defender and tell me they never got a 15-yard penalty for being too aggressive in any way, shape or form. Look at Josh Norman. Him and Cam (Newton) came to blows the year he was voted the best cornerback in the league.
“I’m not saying you want to fight your quarterback but, obviously, you have to have that type of mean mentality.”
Daniels had other examples readily available. Twice in recent years, he mentioned, opposing defenders have been ejected from games against the Packers: New York Jets defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson in 2014, and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2015.
Daniels isn’t aiming for personal fouls, and he’s not about to start fighting Aaron Rodgers on the practice field, but he has no issue slinging his own vulgarities. Just like the Seahawks do it.
“Sherman had gotten some heat for bringing the attitude to practice,” Daniels said, “but there is no NFC, Super Bowl-winning team that had a, how you say, a pacifist-type defense. It’s just impossible. You’ll never see it. You’ve got to have some guys with a renegade mentality who’ll go out there, and they’re not afraid to teeter that line – not cross it, but teeter it – and put the offense on their heels.
“And that’s exactly what Seattle does. You see it year-in and year-out.”