The Green Bay Packers enter training camp with question marks on their defensive line, but defensive end Mike Daniels promises to bring a mean streak.
The Green Bay Packers struggled greatly with their run defense, finishing 25th in the league with 125 yards per game allowed. They also failed to generate much of a pass rush, finishing with just 11 sacks.
6.5 of those came from defensive end Mike Daniels, who is entering his third season in the NFL. He has vowed that the Packers defense will be meaner this year. Datone Jones is expected to start opposite Daniels, and he disappointed in his rookie season after he suffered an ankle injury in training camp. He only finished with 3.5 sacks, but he is looking to make the jump in Year Two.
Julius Peppers was signed away from the Chicago Bears, and he will be motivated to prove that he still has plenty of shelf life remaining. The perennial Pro Bowler may take some snaps at defensive end, but he is expected to play at outside linebacker. Mike Neal, who enjoyed his best season with five sacks, converted to outside linebacker but may still take some snaps at defensive end.
B.J. Raji will be moving back to nose tackle after signing a one-year deal. Nose tackle is his natural position. He has underachieved for the last two seasons after posting 6.5 sacks and 39 tackles in 2010 and playing a key role in the Packers’ Super Bowl run.
Although the defensive line’s quality remains to be seen, the depth will be adequate this season. Khyri Thornton was selected in the third round, and he is reported to have a high motor. This will allow him to push for snaps at defensive end. Josh Boyd will also compete for snaps as he enters his second season.
At nose tackle, Letroy Guion will look to make the roster as Raji’s backup after leaving the Minnesota Vikings.
The biggest wild card entering training camp is defensive end Jerel Worthy, who sat out the 2013 season with a knee injury. The former second-round pick disappointed in his rookie season with only 2.5 sacks after being expected to be an immediate impact player. Now he will be fighting just to make the roster.
Daniels will lead an inexperienced group of defensive linemen with pass-rushing skills and a mean streak that is much-needed by the Packers defense. They will likely carry six or seven defensive linemen on their roster.