I had a 900-word post drafted about what D.J. Smith has to do to overtake A.J. Hawk as the Packers starting ILB alongside Desmond Bishop, but I scrapped most of it.
Why? Because what Smith has to do to win the job is simple.
He needs to tackle.
If I’m D.J. Smith, I wouldn’t even wait until tackling drills in training camp to start tackling people. If Smith is standing on the field waiting to stretch and an undrafted free agent RB is walking by with a ball, Smith should tackle him.
If the equipment manager is moving a bag of footballs from one part of the field to another, Smith should run him down, wrap him up and take him to the ground.
If Smith’s best friend is walking to the fridge to eat the leftovers from dinner, Smith should light him up.
Only starters and immediately family members should be off-limits. Otherwise, Smith needs to tackle anybody that comes into his line of vision between now and the start of the regular season. Player or non-player. Big or small. Male or female. If they have a football, Smith is tackling them.
It’s not going to be anything fancy that helps Smith overtake Hawk. All he has to do is prove that he’s a vastly superior tackler.