Impossible to Ignore Muir's Effort, Attitude

There is no loss for words among the new group of defensive linemen for the Packers this training camp. One of those chatty players being heard from is in his second stint in Green Bay.

The play, for all intents and purposes, is over. Ryan Taylor is finishing his run down the sideline after making a catch during a team period of a Packers training camp practice. While other players retreat to get ready for the next play, big No. 77 continues pursuit, chasing Taylor all the way to the goal line.

As Taylor heads back to huddle to get ready for the next play, big No. 77 jogs back with him and gets in his ear.

"You know I would've caught you, right? You know that?," he asks, implying he would have run down Taylor in a live game.

Taylor just smiles. He is a 6-3, 254-pound tight end and special teams cover man. Big No. 77, aka Daniel Muir, is a 6-2, 322-pound nose tackle. Just what in the world was Muir doing running deep into the secondary?

There is purpose to Muir's chase and his style. Whether it's a tight end like Taylor, or his usual combatant, an offensive lineman, Muir is not about curb his enthusiasm or his effort in practice, even at the risk of potentially ruffling the feathers of some teammates.

"There's a difference between going hard and cheap shots. I'm not looking to take any cheap shots or anything like that," said Muir of his practice habits. "I'm just going to go hard and these guys across from me know that on every single play. It's a two-way street. It makes me better, which I'm looking forward to, but it also helps them. And once you get that in your mind that it's not only about you or only about me, it's about this team, it's about winning a world championship. Period. It's about nothing else. I think the best thing that I can do is go hard because it's going to make the guy across from me a lot better as well."

Muir is among a bunch of chatty, energetic newcomers – namely rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels and free agent Anthony Hargrove – who are in the mix for key defensive line spots.

"Besides the DB's, we probably have the most competition of anybody on this team right now," said Muir, a five-year NFL veteran who signed with the Packers as a free agent in March. "But at the end of the day, I don't look at the numbers. I don't look at any of that. It's all foolishness to me. At the end of the day, I just go hard. I can't worry about anybody else. I just worry about myself."

About the only sure thing along the defensive line at this stage is that B.J. Raji will be the starting nose tackle. Other than that, a variety of players have been utilized in camp in Dom Capers' multiple schemes.

So where does Muir fit in? Is he a long shot like the depth chart might suggest?

Perhaps not.

"I love Daniel," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. "Daniel's working hard out there. He comes from a different system than we play so there's a little bit of training from the scheme that he came from to the system we play, so we'll see how he finishes (camp). That'll be the big key."

Effort aside, Muir offers that Packers versatility that only Raji can match. He can play the nose in the 3-4 base defense yet still has the quickness to convert to a defensive tackle in nickel and dime packages.

The Packers really have only two other players – free agent Johnny Jones (310 pounds), who has been out with a knee injury, and 12-year veteran Ryan Pickett (340 pounds) – who have the size to play the nose. Pickett, however, is playing defensive end and is a more one-dimensional player than Muir, who played a much different style when he was in Indianapolis with the Colts.

"Our technique there was to just get up field and cause havoc," said Muir, "but here, you play the nose, and you're still taught to cause havoc, and the play starts with you since you're the closest to the ball, but a lot here is two-gapping and really protecting your linebackers to come down and make plays."

Muir's four-year stint with the Colts (44 games played) consisted of 30 starts including Super XLIV. During that 2009 Super Bowl season, he recorded a career-high 66 tackles moving into the starting lineup in Week 7.

While his pass rush numbers fail to stand out with the Colts – just one-half sack and three QB hits and 14 QB hurries (according to – he still contributed to a dominant team pass rush as the middle push for defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Outside of the Colts, the Packers know what they have in Muir more than anyone else. Some Packers fans might remember that Muir started his NFL career in Green Bay in 2007 as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State. He was the biggest surprise to make the roster that season.

The Packers released Muir, however, just before the 2008 season. He projects to be a better player this time around and is showing it in camp although he scoffs at the notion that he is shaking things up along the defensive line.

"Really, I mean, you've got guys around you that say, ‘good play,' and stuff like that, but when you start to think, ‘I'm doing this and I'm doing that,' when you start to put that in your mind, a lot of time that destroys you," he said. "So I don't look at whether I'm shaking anything up. The only thing I focus on every day is playing Dan Muir football. And that's it. It's going extremely hard and trying to be the best I can.

"Coming back to Green Bay, I don't know that there is anybody more happy to be here. I was talking to (Packers President and CEO) Mark Murphy when I first got back and I was telling him - not to suck up or anything - but I was just being truthful to him when I said this is the best organization in football. Period. Hands down. It's everything. It's a lot of stuff that you guys don't see. The trainers, the equipment staff, the locker room, the facilities, the way they take care of you here as a player. Nobody in the league does it this way. I look at it and I let that motivate me because I don't want to be anywhere else. I want to be here. And that's the way it was my rookie year. And in my rookie year I didn't know the other side. I'm not saying Indianapolis was bad because Indianapolis was a great organization, too. We won a lot of football games. But I feel at home here. I love this city and most of all I love this organization. I love the way they do it here."

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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at

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