Within an hour of being cut last week by the Packers, defensive tackle Mike Daniels heard from 13 teams.
“Coach Patricia. Flat out," Daniels said Sunday after his first time on the field with his new team. "He’s just a genius. He really is, man. He understands the game of football. He knows what it takes. To be able to play for a coach like that means everything.
“I’m really trying to be restrained right now, because I’m just so excited. If I could do a back flip right now, I’d do one."
The excitement is mutual. The Lions are adding Daniels to a defensive front that already features a pair of stars in Damon Harrison and Trey Flowers, and potentially a pair of stars in the making in Da’Shawn Hand and A’Shawn Robinson. That's without mentioning Romeo Okwara, who last year led the team with 7.5 sacks.
"I’ve always respected the Lions’ defensive front. Now with Coach Patricia being here and seeing the guys he’s brought over, they’ve only gotten better. You couldn't help but notice. Being able to play with those guys is awesome," he said.
Daniels, 30, has been one of the most productive defensive tackles in the NFL over his seven-year career. He can stop the run and disrupt the pass, the kind of versatile lineman who should thrive in Patricia's multiple defense.
Though he was surprised to be cut by the Packers, who saved about $8 million in cap space by doing so, Daniels believes it worked out for the best. It led him to Patricia.
“I always respected him and I’ve always respected his work,” Daniels said. “Now I thank God. I thank God I got cut and I have an opportunity to play with a defensive genius.”
Daniels said he met Patricia when he visited with the Lions in Allen Park last week. The two talked football, and it confirmed everything Daniels already thought he knew. Patricia is a demanding coach who wants hard-nosed players.
For Daniels, it's a good fit.
“I know he does things the right way, and that’s how I do things,” Daniels said. “I try to do things the right way as best I can. I’m glad I get an opportunity to play for a coach who demands doing things the right way.