Packers A.J. Hawk: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card
1) Introduction:Â Everyone knows the story of A.J. Hawk, because itâ€™s how people have measured his reputation and performance. As the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Hawk was supposed to be more than he has been. Being â€œassignment sureâ€ has become more of a condemnation of his skills than an emblem of solid play. Still, Hawk has been the consistent force at inside linebacker. In his seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Hawk has only missed two games.
Aaron James Hawk
- Age:Â 29
- Born:Â 01/16/1984, in Centerville, OH
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 242
- College: Ohio State
- Rookie Year:Â 2006
- NFL Experience: 7 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: A.J. Hawk has never been much of a playmaker. While Dom Capers would argue that Hawkâ€™s role is to make sure other guys can make plays, it doesnâ€™t quite appease the desires of Packers fans. The dismal performance of the 2011 defense also didnâ€™t help Hawkâ€™s cause, especially as the â€œquarterbackâ€ of the unit. After six years of seeing him play, was there really much more we could expect from A.J. Hawk in 2012?
4) Playerâ€™s highlights/low-lights: We just recognized the lack of game-changing plays made by A.J. Hawk in his career, so it should come as no surprise that his 2012 highlight reel leaves something to be desired. He did boast two sacks against the Tennessee Titans, though itâ€™s not much to brag about considering the opponent. On the flip side, recent memory always shines brightest, which is why itâ€™s hard to forget the 44-yard reception by Vernon Davis in the playoffs. The 49ers were able to create the right match-up in that situation, but it just highlights the coverage deficiencies of A.J. Hawk.
5) Playerâ€™s contribution to the overall team success: By all accounts, A.J. Hawk actually seemed to do better this season than he did in 2011. He started out relatively strong, making more aggressive tackles than usual. There were times when he was exposed in both run and pass coverage, though he did perform fairly consistently, not having a lot of highs and lows. Hawkâ€™s 120 tackles tie his highest since his rookie year, he stayed relatively penalty-free, and he nearly doubled the amount of offensive stops he had from last year, with 57.
6) Playerâ€™s contributions in the playoffs:Â Against the Vikings, A.J. Hawk was relatively invisible. He posted a mere two tackles and not much else. Granted, the way Minnesota and Green Bay attacked each other, there wasnâ€™t really a chance for him to do too much. The front defenders concentrated on gap control and maintaining Peterson, and thatâ€™s mostly all Hawk had to do. As for San Francisco, Hawk was about as hopeless as everyone else to stop Kaepernick, despite making three stops for the team.
Season Report Card:
(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to teamâ€™s overall success.
(C+) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: Bâ€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”Follow @ChadToporski