There is one reason in particular Mike Daniels is now a Detroit Lion, and that’s head coach Matt Patricia.
Daniels, a seven-year veteran defensive lineman and Pro Bowler in 2017, was released by the Green Bay Packers earlier this week. He said 13 teams contacted him within the first hour of his release, but knew Detroit was the place for him as soon as he met Patricia.
“Coach Patricia, flat out,” Daniels said when asked why he picked Detroit to sign with. “He’s just a genius. He really is. He understands the game of football. He knows what it takes. So to be able to play for a coach like that it means everything. I’m really trying to be restrained right now because I’m so excited. If I could do a backflip right now I’d do one, but I can’t. I’m really excited.”
Daniels said he respected Patricia and his body of work as a defensive coach from afar, but was blown away after meeting him.
“I thank god that I got cut and I have an opportunity to play for a defensive genius,” he said.
In his career, Daniels has appeared in 102 games (72 starts), and logged 225 tackles (154 solo), 29.0 sacks, 64 quarterback hits and 44 tackles for loss.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2014, Daniels is one of two defensive tackles in the NFL (Sheldon Richardson) to produce at least 150 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 20.0 sacks and one interception over the last five seasons.
He could make an immediate impact upfront for a Detroit defense that’s built respectable talent and depth along its defensive front over the past couple seasons.
“He’s a super fierce competitor,” Lions left tackle Taylor Decker said of Daniels. “I don’t go against him every single play, but there are plays I have to block him. He has a huge motor. I’m glad he’s on our team.
“I think he’s great for us to have. Obviously, the organization felt that way, going out to get him. He’s going to make us better. He's a little spicy. He’ll be fun. It makes it fun coming out here. You want to have some energy and competition in practice. It makes it fun.”
Daniels’ best season was in 2017, when he had 49 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games. It earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Last season, he played in just 10 games before a foot injury cut his season short, but he seems confident the injury is behind him and he can return to his Pro Bowl form.
To say Daniels is excited to be here in Allen Park with the Lions is a bit of an understatement. He’s looking forward to getting into the action soon, and doing whatever he can to help this team win.
“Whatever they need,” he said. “Whatever they need, I’ll bring it. I’m just trying to be the best team player I can be.”