On Tuesday, we told you about Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels’ thoughts on Aaron Rodgers. Daniels said Rodgers is the best ever and the reason he doesn’t have more rings is because of the defense.
But every offseason, Mike Daniels has a refrain. It’s comical at times.
Remember when he had one quote and one quote only last offseason? If your memory needs to be jogged, it was that the Packers’ defense can’t win with nice guys. He repeated that every time he was interviewed.
This offseason, it’s a little different. Daniels is standing up for the Packers’ defense, even though no one else is. Forget the 21st overall ranking. Forget No. 31 against the pass.
Daniels likes two others stats, which he will bring to the table for any and all arguments.
“Here’s the deal — I’d like to see anybody take a bunch of rookies and put them on the defensive line and at inside linebacker and have the No. 8 run defense in the NFL. And if you take away two plays, we’re the No. 2 run defense.
“Then, look at — OK, we had a lot of young guys on the back end. On top of them being young guys, they were hurt. One guy had a hernia surgery in season and continued to play (Damarious Randall). Still No. 6 in sacks. So for us to have had the success we had, still make it to the NFC Championship game with as banged up as we were on the back end, I think we did a heck of a job. Especially against teams coming in full power all season.”
I’m not going to argue about injuries playing a role. They did. They always do — these are the Green Bay Packers. That’s just the reality of a new season.
I’m not going to argue about the youth either, although there weren’t as many rookies involved as Daniels would seem to be suggesting. The Packers will always be young. They don’t sign veterans and let a lot of their own veterans leave via free agency.
There were a couple rookies involved on the defensive line — Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark. However, neither of them played a big role or logged that many snaps.
The lone rookie inside linebacker — Blake Martinez — played substantially less than the two second-year guys — Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas. There wasn’t a rookie in the secondary that got any sort of notable playing time other than safety Kentrell Brice in subpackages.
The other things that should be noted about the run and sack rankings is this.
One, teams don’t run the football when they know they can torch your secondary. That certainly played a role in that run defense ranking. Two, since teams were passing so often, there are simply more opportunities to get sacks — it’s a numbers game.
If you really want to gauge how effective the pass rush was, then you have to look at sack percentage as a sort of conversion rate and compare that to the rest of the league. The number of sacks alone is skewed because of the number of opportunities.
The bottom line here is this.
The Packers need a complete defense. They need a top-10 overall ranked unit. One that is solid against he run AND the pass.
That’s how they’re going achieve real success. And then we won’t need to have this conversation.