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A.J. Hawk Didn’t Play Poorly Last Season, Except When He Did

A.J. Hawk

We’ve never been real high on Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. We’ve called him a bust. Frankly, that’s what you get when you’re the No. 5 overall draft pick and you produce zero Pro Bowl appearances in six NFL seasons.

By pretty much all accounts, 2011 was Hawk’s shittiest season to date. Still, there’s always someone on the Packers coaching staff who’s ready to run to Hawk’s defense. This time, it’s inside linebackers coach Winston Moss, who tells us Hawk played just fine last season.

“His year was just quiet,” Moss said. “When he got in, there wasn’t a lot of tackle production and there weren’t interceptions so you look at his stat line and you say, ‘Well, what the hell did he do last year?’ A.J. is not a problem. A.J. is not an issue. A.J. didn’t play poorly last year. He just didn’t make those impact plays.”

Ah, so Hawk isn’t on the field to make plays? Damn. I guess I’ve been confused about what an inside linebacker’s role is for some time then. Stupid me!

For the record, Hawk produced a career-low 84 tackles in 2011. He had no interceptions or forced fumbles and only 1.5 sacks.

Moss goes on to talk out of the other side of his mouth, saying that, hey, Hawk probably should be making plays. Wait… so an inside linebacker should be making plays then? This is all so terribly confusing!

“I’m fine with what A.J. is doing. But on the flipside of that, you want your guys being impactful and making plays. He didn’t do it last year and I’m sure he’s not satisfied. He’s going to respond accordingly.”

Ah, good. It’s all settled then. The Packers will continue to trot A.J. Hawk out onto the field, he’ll continue to be slow-footed and take bad angles, and he’ll continue to not make plays while we’re told he’s performing just fine. Hey, the dude is going to respond properly.

Sounds like a plan!

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. wisconsinfan June 22, 2012


  2. nurseratchett June 22, 2012

    well at least its clear now….

  3. PackerBob June 22, 2012

    And you would replace him with…?

    1. Abe Frohman June 25, 2012

      Smith or Francois

  4. Brad June 22, 2012

    The easy answer is to replace Hawk with DJ Smith, but there are other possibilities. The rookie from NC State is a possibility; he might be better in coverage and as a rusher as a rookie than Hawk. The Packers don’t use their base defense much (3-4-4), and they’ve been picking up DLs and DBs. They could go 3-3-5 more, instead of the old 2-4-5, using their new D-linemen. Or they could go 2-3-6 more. Hawk’s the obvious LB to take off the field.

    1. Vijay June 23, 2012

      Smart Bradley, very smart indeed.

      1. Brad June 24, 2012

        Thanks, Vijay.

  5. Abe Frohman June 25, 2012

    the coaches value Hawk’s ability to make the right calls. Our defense was last in the league last year, so how many excellent adjustments did he make? And if he made them, but players were not making plays, then it’s time to change the players and give someone else a shot. Bishop was a clear upgrade over Barnett and they almost waited too long to make that move. I’d much rather see someone with potential mess up a few times, but make some plays from time to time than someone who’s consistently….average.