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D.J. Smith Has Surpassed A.J. Hawk

D.J. Smith

Well, we knew this day would come. It didn’t happen how we thought it would, but D.J. Smith has now officially passed A.J. Hawk among the Green Bay Packers inside linebackers.

We figured Smith would take the underachieving Hawk’s job (and yeah, I see you A.J. Hawk apologists, but you’re not saying anything) after a hard-fought training camp battle. Smith would pair with Desmond Bishop to form one of the best inside-backer tandems in the league.

Then Bishop tore up his hamstring and Smith was forced to step into his starting spot alongside Hawk. As expected, Smith has outplayed Hawk.

He’s going to be the lone linebacker in the Packers nickel package.

“He’s got good command of the huddle, he moves well and is a physical guy,” said defensive coordinator Dom Capers. “He’s got good instinct in there. If they want to run the ball he’s going to show up in the right place.”

Interestingly, Robert Francois has also worked ahead of Hawk in the dime. That’s not to suggest Francois is also ahead of Hawk, who struggles in coverage.

Hawk is still working with the No. 1 base and nickel defense.

Smith has clearly emerged as the Packers preferred option as an every-down player though.

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. David August 16, 2012

    You’ll know it Hawk’s exit is out the door when he’s no longer the man who wears the green sticker….

  2. iltarion August 16, 2012

    This is non news that originated with the well-known Hawk hater Bob McGinn.

    The Packers play the base and nickel defense 95% of the time. It is pretty much irrelevant that DJ Smith will also happen to be in the dime instead of Hawk.

    For all we know, Capers simply wants to rest Hawk during those few plays so that he is fresher for the more oft-used base and nickel. Afterall, Hawk is getting older.

  3. TyKoSteamboat August 16, 2012

    Hawk is strong against the run…that is something noone can deny.

    Back in time…he was #5 overall in the draft

  4. Richard August 17, 2012

    I wish they would permanently rest Hawk.

    1. Juan Bonet August 18, 2012

      Like, murder him? D:

  5. Thomas August 17, 2012

    Easy to say when DJ is given a starting Job by default. Nothing in your do called proof says AJ was going to be the back up. Bishop was also going to take AJ’s job too. Stop hating on AJ and try reporting what actually is happening on the field. Stop embarrassing your self

  6. robo August 17, 2012

    Even though Hawk does not get the big plays a #5 draft pick should,He is always around the ball and very consistant,something this team needs badly.And He stays on the field all year,not IR

  7. Ross August 17, 2012

    Hawk has been a disappointment for the get go. He can’t cover nor can he stop a run off the edge. Best thing that could ever happen. Papinga should be right with him.

  8. Dave August 17, 2012

    What a maroon. Hawk has been and will be one of the most underrated linebackers. Maybe he’s not as spectacular but he gets the job done. Go hawk

    1. Ezekiel August 17, 2012

      That is racist! It does not matter what color the author’s skin is.

  9. "Packer"Ron August 17, 2012

    You “A.J.”fans knew that this day was coming and it came quicker than expected.He has not performed well the last two seasons.Out of position,constantly beat in pass coverage,no turn overs and D.J. Smith has all the physical tools that Hawk doesn’t.And Smith is a heckuva football player.Packers should have traded Hawk when they had the opprtunity.

  10. Mark Kreutzfeld August 17, 2012

    That Smith surpassed Hawk is no surprise; unfortunately, he’s replacing Bishop because of injury, thus leaving Hawk starting. A net loss overall, and not at all good news.

  11. Shavager August 20, 2012

    Hawk was Packers leading tackler till last season, haven’t seen anything in two pre-season games showing Smith better than Hawk yet. Too many writers think they’re head coach material, Packers coaches will make the decisions, not a bunch of pencil pushers who’ve never played but LOVE to stir the pot to CREATE news when there is none to report.