It’s no secret that I think A.J. Hawk is one of the most overrated players on our roster. Michigan bias aside (Go Blue), I don’t think he’s performed to the caliber of expectations or a first round draft pick.

In 2009, The Pack shifted their 4-3 defense to 3-4, moving Hawk from weakside to the inside. The defensive problems don’t rest soley on Hawk, but he’s a prime example of what happens when this type of shift is made and draft picks don’t reflect said change the next year.

Hawk’s stats last year in regular season were:  84 tackles (53 solo, 31 assist); 1.5 sacks and 0 INTs. As someone told me, yes, it takes around 5 years to make the full transition when switching defense from 4-3 to 3-4.

But, come on man. Did you not see our defense last year?

We all knew going into the draft that our pass rush (or lack of) needed major work and a revival. Many were stoked for the Perry pick – I don’t think he fits into Capers 3-4 defense, but he is definitely an athletic pass rusher. We’re pretty weak at outside linebacker opposite of Matthews, and he should be ahead of Walton and Zombo for the position.

I was more impressed with Jerel Worthy, especially after reading about the first few weeks of training camp.

Why? Let’s break it down.

Jerel Worthy:

6’2, 309 pounds, the kid can actually burst right off the line with his speed. That’s not easy for someone 300+ pounds. His stats at Michigan State last season were as follows: 30 tackles (10½ for loss) and 3½ sacks. The Packers play a lot of nickel, so they had Worthy line up next to Raji in the nickel package. Worthy is an interior pass-rusher, and will fill the void left by Neal’s suspension for the first four games.

I expect our signing of free agent Anthony Hargrove to give Worthy competition – if we were a typical 3-4 defense. The Pack 3-4 push their linemen to not double team but to penetrate the opposing offense.

Lots of reports pre-and-post draft point to the fact that Worthy is too short to make an impact as a defensive starter, but Jenkins was only 6’2. Think back to last season: we had a gaping hole without Jenkins, whether we wanted to admit it or not.  College defensive tackles that can rack up 12 sacks, along with 27.5 tackles for loss, are rare.

So, what do you think? I know you all love Hawk, but think Worthy will start? What about Perry?

Go Pack Go.

 

 

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  • BubbaOne

    Wow, a Wolverine praising a Spartan, maybe there’s still hope for the Republicans and Democrats.

    I hate the whole notion of measuring a player in regards to where he was drafted. Do you ask your doctor where he/she was ranked in their class? your mechanic? Conversely, when Donald Driver drops a pass or when Mark Tauscher gave up a sack did you say what do you expect from a 7th rounder? Hawk has his limitations but I think he’s 1st or 2nd in tackles on the team every year he’s been in the league.

    W/ Perry’s and his backup So’oto’s shortcoming being coverage maybe we see a hybrid 3-4 w/ these guys rushing the QB 75% of the time.

    • http://www.laurenafernandez.com Lauren

      Touche – I agree on the measuring the player bit. Every team has different needs, so of course people will fall or move up. I mean, hell, Rodgers fell to #24 and I don’t think anyone is scoffing at his skills.

      Hybrid 3-4… Interesting. Would like to see how it plays out, especially with your point about the coverage. Never thought of it that way.

      We can agree to disagree on Hawk. He is never going to be my favorite.

      • BubbaOne

        …and dogs and cats may start playing together.

        Rick at Packernet has an interesting take on the “elephant” hybrid. Though after seeing OTA’s he’s now not sure this is Capers direction.
        http://www.packernet.com/blog/2012/05/01/4-3-under-and-the-elephant-rusher/

        We don’t disagree on Hawk. I definitely have my issues w/ him. After a game I’ll see he’s in the top 3 in tackles and I say “How’d that happen?” He’s not flashy more of a “Steady Eddie” and yes we and coach Moss expect more from him.
        http://espnmilwaukee.com/corp/page/06%2F04%2F12_Hawk_looking_for_more_tangible_impact/670?feed=2

        I did want to give credit to Hawk for stepping in when Barnett got injured; taking over play calling, steadying the D, leading the team in tackles, and being a cog in a top 5 D that won a SB. Hawk is going on his 7th year of being a starting LB including a scheme change during a renaissance period in team history. As someone who lived through the 70′s and 80′s when we were lucky to get three straight years of production out of anyone I want to acknowledge when he does something right. I judge 10 years from now Packer Nation will view his career a little more favorably.

  • Colleen

    I think there’s a case to be made for Hawk not even being on the teeam when the season starts.

    • http://www.laurenafernandez.com Lauren

      1. This is one of many reasons why I love you.

      2. I hope so. I was making that case last year when I thought we should have cut him. I think he’s dead weight.

    • http://doppler.com Nick Perry

      Finally a site where people share my distaste for Hawk. If Manning or D.J. Smith are not starting by week 4 of this season then clearly it’s about the money the Packers are paying him. I’m tired when writers point to number of tackles. Do they remember the missed tackles? That he’s to slow to cover ANYBODY? In a 3-4 the linebackers are supposed to have lots of tackles. Why are Hawks tackles always after a 5 yard gain? It’s time to cut our ties with Hawk. The Chiefs wanted him, if the Packers can get anything for him pull the trigger. As long as Hawk is in the line up it’s a liability in the middle of the Packers defense.

      • BubbaOne

        I didn’t say this in my earlier reply to Lauren but I’m in the paradigm of appreciating what he’s done and yet present to his liabilities. So yes I could see a trade of Hawk as a good thing. Opposing TE’s and RB’s abused our ILB’s in coverage. W/ the drafting of Manning and moving Jones and Lattimore inside competition will be stiff. Hawk’s lack of speed may be his undoing though I don’t think they’ll cut him, only trade him.

        Maybe cutting his hair will improve his speed and agility (wink). Camp should decide…let the best men win.

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