A.J. Hawk vs. D.J. Smith: Who Starts for the Packers in 2012?

A.J. Hawk

Packers LB A.J. Hawk

A.J. Hawk vs. D.J. Smith:

(Michael Buffer voice)

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to tonight’s main event!

In this corner, standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 245 pounds; a six-year starter with 593 career tackles who finally got a haircut, from Ohio St. University: AAAAAAAAA. JAAAAAAAAAAAY. HAAAAAAAAAAAAWK!!!!

In the other corner, 5-foot-11 and a lean, mean 239 pounds, he’s young and hungry, he wants to prove himself, he thinks his future is now, all the way from Appalachian St.: DEEEEEEEEEEE. JAAAAAAAAAAAAY. SMIIIIIIIIIIITH!!!!


Now that Michael Buffer has finished his introductions, this fight can begin. Hawk finished a distant second to Jermichael Finley in our most frustrating Packers player poll, and I’m actually surprised it wasn’t closer. A.J. Hawk makes Packers fans angry.

And it’s genuine anger. Finley gets under fans’ skin because he has a big mouth. We’re not used to big talkers in Green Bay. We prefer our players to keep quiet and not say anything out of the ordinary. Hawk isn’t a big talker, so when people get mad at him, they’re mad because of what he did on the field, or in most cases, what he failed to do.

Smith had a nice little run at inside linebacker when Hawk and Desmond Bishop got hurt late last season. Naturally, many fans thought Smith should’ve remained the starter when Hawk returned. Many of these same fans also think Smith should be the opening day starter in 2012.

Is that a realistic demand? Does Smith really have a shot to take over for Hawk right away? Maybe. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why Hawk will be the starter, and a few reason why Smith will get the nod.

A.J. Hawk

  • Experience. Coaches often praise Hawk for his command of the defensive calls and ability to “quarterback” the defense.
  • Reliable. Hawk has missed just two games in his six-year career. You know he’ll be on the field every Sunday and you know he’ll line up where he’s supposed to, and help others do the same.
  • Attitude. Hawk plays with emotion and never shies away from sticking his nose in the middle of the action, even if he’s a step or two late in getting to wherever the action is occurring.