Mike Daniels on Mike Pettine: "I Absolutely Love Him"

It's a safe bet that few are as happy to have Mike Pettine in town as Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels.

He made that much clear on Thursday in an interview with WBAY-TV's Dave Schroeder while Daniels was in Minneapolis participating in some of the pre-Super Bowl festivities.

"I love him. I absolutely love him," Daniels said. "He's a real angry, no-BS Jersey dude. He's going to hurt some people's feelings and we need that. We need that."

Coach Mike McCarthy hired Pettine over three weeks ago after ousting former defensive coordinator Dom Capers after a nine-year tenure with the team since arriving in 2009. Along with Pettine came a multitude of defensive looks and complex blitzes that could be just enough to take the Packers' 22nd-ranked defense in 2017 to the next level.

Last season marked the fourth time in seven years that the Capers-coached unit finished in the bottom third of the league. A change after just two years of underachieving would've been a formality for most teams.

"I'm excited to get to work with him -- and he's excited. He's going to get after you.

"He's definitely the kind of guy that we want, the kind of guy that we need and I'm going to say he's going to do really great things for us, and he already is. I'm excited, I can't wait to get back."

Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets for four seasons (2009-2012) and led defenses that finished first, third, fifth and eighth, respectively. His defense with the Buffalo Bills in 2013 finished the season 10th as well.

Those defenses orchestrated by Pettine had talent, which is a big attributor to their success. However, that isn't to say he can't piece together a formidable group in similar fashion with some of the pieces the Packers already have to build around, and Daniels knows that's certainly within Pettine's reach.

"We've always had the pieces. Now, he's ready to put them together. He just has the attitude, the attitude we've been missing. We've been missing it and he has it, and he's ready to bring it out, and he told me that himself."

Daniels is on the heels of his first -- and much deserved -- Pro Bowl season after starting 14 games and finishing with a career-high 34 tackles. He also registered five sacks, marking the fifth-straight season he's finished with at least four.

"It's going to be an interesting film room with him, he's not afraid of holding guys accountable. And if you want to debate whether you had a good play or not, he'll go right to the tape. I'm excited for that."

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (40)

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Charlu19's picture

February 02, 2018 at 01:29 am

If Big Mike is excited, well, color me excited.

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Coldworld's picture

February 02, 2018 at 04:27 am

Sounds like MD sees Pettine as bringing the things we have been crying out for here. Good news indeed

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Charlu19's picture

February 03, 2018 at 04:39 am

GB will boast a unit in the upper half of the league in 2018... Calling it. This unit has some talent.

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Charlu19's picture

February 03, 2018 at 04:40 am

Also, Randall flourishes under a coach who will ride him... Call #2

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Packer_Pete's picture

February 02, 2018 at 05:12 am

I don't doubt that Pettine has the attitude but I doubt he has the horses... I hope I am wrong but overall the talent level on D is below the average NFL D...

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The TKstinator's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:01 am

Pettine said scheme is only a small part of great defense. He said they could play one front and one coverage but if they play with passion and technique they can be successful. Very eager to see how it all comes together!
Two things: I think he’ll make better use of the existing pieces, and I fully expect more pieces to be added through a greater variety of channels, not just the draft.

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HankScorpio's picture

February 02, 2018 at 07:05 am

I can't say I watch the other 31 teams closely enough to have an informed opinion about what constitutes "average defense" in the NFL, much less able to compare that talent to the Packers.

But as far as the Packers go, their 2nd best DL made the Pro Bowl this year. It was not undeserved. So they have the ability to control the interior of the LoS vs the run and generate push up the middle vs the pass with Daniels and Clark. That's a pretty nice building block. Dean Lowery has shown to be a solid rotational DL.

Clay Matthews showed in 2017 that he can still be a disruptive force. He might not be a fearsome edge rusher anymore but he's a nice puzzle piece for Pettine. Reggie Gilbert might not be a polished NFL OLB but he showed situational pass rush ability in limited duty. Nick Perry is a bit more polished as a OLB. Many (me included) think he can be even better with his hand in the dirt and he may get the opportunity to prove it with Pettine, who promises to be more flexible than Capers was. Blake Martinez showed solid instincts and ability vs the run.

In the secondary, HHCD has been to a Pro Bowl. He looked lost last year but he's not without talent. If Pettine and staff can get his head adjusted correctly, he can play much better than in 2017. Marwin Evans, Kentrell Brice and Josh Jones are young players that have shown some promise. Damarious Randall played like a legit NFL CB after his benching early in the season. Kevin King showed enough to think he might be a legit NFL CB, too.

Again, I have no idea how all that stacks up to the "average NFL defense". But I have a strong sense that it adds up to better talent than one expects of a defense that ranked 22nd in yards and 26th in points. I look forward to seeing whether my theory is confirmed this fall.

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Jamie Freier's picture

February 03, 2018 at 01:43 pm

Every time I got to see the defense I thought plays were made due to talent and individual effort and not as part of a cohesive scheme or teamwork. I think enough horses are in the stable, but they need to be harnessed and driven right to work as a good team. Ditch the confusion and watch these guys make plays.

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dobber's picture

February 02, 2018 at 09:33 am

Then we need to make up our minds. Many have said they felt that Dom was the problem and was holding a defense with more talent than it showed on the field back...in which case a change in defensive staff and approach could make a meaningful difference. Others have said there's nowhere near enough talent, in which case it's hard to fault a coaching staff for lousy results and we can't expect much improvement based on what we've seen so far in this off-season.

If we can decide which it is, I'd be most grateful.

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Tundraboy's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:12 am

Hopefully we also add some pieces and it's a moot point. Just want to to see a ray of hope and real improvement.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:22 am

"Then I hope disappointment is something you enjoy."

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dobber's picture

February 02, 2018 at 01:52 pm

Now you sound like my Dad...

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Bearmeat's picture

February 03, 2018 at 08:57 am

Um.... Both? :D

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comeonman's picture

February 02, 2018 at 07:06 pm

The good thing is, I think BF and M Murphy both see that this team can no longer get by with mid to late round draft picks and UDFA. I think we are going to see more FA/Trade activity than has been seen in a long time. If the BF and his staff can find the right veteran FA along with a solid draft, I believe GB can compete for a SB as early as next year. I don't think they can create a top 5 or 10 defense, but if BF can build a D that is much better on 3rd downs and pass defense, and get the D to say a top 15 D, AR is good enough to take the team all the way, A speed burner WR to stretch the field more is also needed.

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comeonman's picture

February 02, 2018 at 07:08 pm

Sorry meant to say BG (Brian Gutenkunst), not BF above

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NickPerry's picture

February 02, 2018 at 05:41 am

Pettines defenses have been known for getting the most out of the parts he does have. If Clark continues to makes jumps like he did this last season, Daniels continues at the same level, Perry doesn't break a hand or anything else for that matter, and Matthews can produce on a level as good or higher than last season the Packers DO have some pieces. Are there any JJ Watt's or Aaron Donald's on this team? No, not yet anyways but those 4 give the Pettine something to work with and if he's as good as we all hope he is he'll do something with who he has now.

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The TKstinator's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:15 am

Much agreed.
Also, interested to see if HHCD can bounce back, since last year was crap.
King should be good. Randall?
Martinez!
How about a “pleasant surprise” from anyone else that’s already here?
Can they add one from the draft and one from FA? (I don’t think that is asking a lot!)

Tier One: Clark, Daniels, Perry, Matthews, King, Martinez
Tier Two: HHCD? Randall? Mystery guest? Drafted player, Free Agent?
I notice that combining Tier One (guys you can reasonably expect good production from) and Tier Two (guys who have a decent chance to contribute), that adds up to eleven. And Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap taught us all about the power of eleven.

(Personally, I count Perry/Matthews combined as just ONE player, due to frequent injuries and inconsistency. And they make WAY too much $ for that. But time will tell.)

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NickPerry's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:38 am

I didn't mention any of the secondary players because I don't know what to expect from them, not really. I hope Randall plays as well as he did at the end of the year opposed to the version who was sent to the locker room at the beginning of the year.
King having surgery EARLY is a good thing providing he can get in the weight room relatively quickly for much so needed work. That dude is skinny as a rail and really has to get stronger to be the Packers #1 CB.

HHCD IMO will be much better in 2018. He played well for the first 3 years then played so poorly it's hard to figure what the hell was wrong with him. For now I'm blaming Capers and that scheme he played. Guys like Capers and now Dick LeBeau and those 1992 schemes just don't work anymore. LeBeau was replaced in Pittsburgh and now in Tennessee I believe.

The "Mystery Guest" OTHER than a FA will be Josh Jones. At least that's my hope going into next season. The Packers NEED as many of these last few draft classes from Thompson to contribute. I think Jones could really benefit from a coach like Pettine.

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The TKstinator's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:50 am

I’m on board.
And I don’t mean on board the Worry Bus.
More like the Eager Anticipation Bus.

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dobber's picture

February 02, 2018 at 09:34 am

Due to efficiency in seating, the Eager Anticipation Bus has been replaced with a mini-cooper.

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NickPerry's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:38 am

Oops double post.

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Tundraboy's picture

February 02, 2018 at 01:00 pm

"How about a “pleasant surprise” from anyone else that’s already here?"

Wouldn't that be nice. Maybe even a huge surprise from anyone on D.

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The TKstinator's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:27 am

They sure beat “disappointments”!

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comeonman's picture

February 02, 2018 at 07:11 pm

If HHCD starts out playing like he did last year, I am SURE M Petine and new staff are going to get in his face early.

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Packer_Fan's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:28 am

Good news. I am hoping for just a return to a respectable defense. That can happen with just a new outlook and players playing together.

But we still need some free agent help. Like a lock down corner and pass rusher.

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4thand1's picture

February 02, 2018 at 06:43 am

Pettine has only one way to go....................up. We have all speculated that this defense gave up, was confused, or didn't have the players. I think it's a combination of all 3, with the players they have being injured. IMO this defense needed a fire to be lit under its ass, Pettine is the coach to do it. We were always looking for a leader to step up, a coach can do that more than any player if those players believe in him.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

February 02, 2018 at 01:36 pm

When the defense had to make a stop it couldn't. Look at the Bears and the Vikings playing D. Capers had to go and the new GM could do no worse than Thompson did missing on so many defensive picks. The arrow is finally pointing up

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FTS Messamore's picture

February 02, 2018 at 07:39 am

"It's going to be an interesting film room with him, he's not afraid of holding guys accountable. And if you want to debate whether you had a good play or not, he'll go right to the tape. I'm excited for that."

That's interesting to hear. I'm sure D. Randall is one of them. I wouldn't be surprised if Clinton-Dix is the another. I feel pretty good about his excitement. This team is in transition mode, so I don't want to get to excited.

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Spock's picture

February 03, 2018 at 08:22 am

FTS, I agree about Clinton-Dix, but I honestly believe that Randall got his head on straight after being benched. He was a different player after that game, and I believe he learned what he needed to be as a pro. We as fans tend to forget how pampered these young men were prior to turning pro. I am not personally worried about Randall at all. I also felt that Dix was really pissed off about Capers plan for him to play WAY, WAY, OFF of the line of scrimmage and he got disinterested in playing that way. I expect to see the "old" Ha-Ha emerge under Pettine. Go, Pack, Go!

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Since'61's picture

February 02, 2018 at 08:41 am

I've posted for years that the Packers defense needs an injection of nasty attitude. Maybe Pettine is the guy to provide the injection. We won't find out until September. Thanks, Since '61

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Johnblood27's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:00 am

Daniels has always been a large mouthpiece with average production and one or two flashes of dominance per season.

He has talked about holding teammates accountable, having a fighting spirit and punching others in the mouth (literally) and has in general talked his way into the "ignore at all times" category of teammate.

While I agree with meanness being a prerequisite for great defense, I will wait until TC to get excited.

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Oppy's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:28 am

I agree about Daniels becoming an "ignore" talker- I always felt like he's the kind of guy who works at talking the talk- I don't think it's natural and it comes off as an act.

However, I disagree about him being average with only "flashes" of dominance. I don't think there's a guard/center combo in the league that likes to try and block Mike Daniels. He's a bit of a wrecking ball.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:55 am

Agreed (2nd paragraph mostly). Daniels is a power player with a motor. He walks the talk. I've got no complaints about Mike Daniels on or off the field.

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Tundraboy's picture

February 02, 2018 at 01:02 pm

Me either. Last of our worries.

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carlos's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:19 am

It’s just good to hear positive comments from players. I think Pettine is the right man for the job. As far as talent on the team you’d almost have to be a player and on the field to really know. Most NFL players have the talent. It’s the attitude that can distinguish you as exceptional. It’s a new era and will be hopefully fun going forward.

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comeonman's picture

February 02, 2018 at 07:16 pm

I like Petine more then Fangio, I think Petine was exactly what this Defense needed, and a home run hire. Really glad MM did not hire from within

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carlos's picture

February 02, 2018 at 10:25 am

Block and tackle. Keep it simple/ stupid.

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4zone's picture

February 02, 2018 at 11:08 am

You start with attitude. We need a lot more fire and less 'posing' from these guys and its good to start to see that. A good coach who knows that he can get the job done will ooze attitude to his position coaches and the players. Personally, I think the defense got better just by the coaching changes alone. Now, we have a chance to improve the talent pool this off season to go with those changes and hopefully we get back to the top 15 or even possibly top 10 D's next year.

With our RB's coming into their second years, and AR back in the saddle, if we can add a TE or WR to the mix we should be able to do a lot more clock control and take even more pressure off this D. I'm feeeeeeeeeeeeling it!!!!!

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4thand10's picture

February 02, 2018 at 03:05 pm

I'm feeling it as well.

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4thand10's picture

February 02, 2018 at 03:04 pm

How I hope the convo went...

Pettine: Dear Mike Daniels,
When the opposing team has a double tight end set you won't be the only DL on the line of scrimmage as part of some carnival package.

Mike Daniels: Thank you

It's an Improvement already!!!

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