The Packers aren’t involved in the NFC title game Sunday, and that’s causing some soul searching in Green Bay.
Where did this season go wrong? What happened to the Packers defense during the season?
There are a lot of directions you can go with the answer, but Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel starts with one decision: Re-signing A.J. Hawk to a monster contract and letting Nick Barnett walk away.
Some highlights from McGinn’s article: “He’s just a guy. His contract is by far the worst contract that Thompson has ever enacted.”
And: “It’s beyond me how [G.M. Ted] Thompson can come back with Hawk as the starter next season. There even have been whispers among Hawk’s teammates. They know better than anyone else how little his game has to offer,” McGinn wrote.
Ouch. These words are so striking because McGinn is among the most knowledgeable, measured writers in the country. He believes the Packers need to trade or release Hawk in the offseason, which would mean D.J. Smith would take over for Hawk in 2012.
It’s hard to imagine that happening, but Hawk’s 2011 season has raised that kind of doubt in Green Bay.