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Without Bishop, Packers leaning on D.J. Smith over A.J. Hawk


The Packers have a well-regarded, rather expensive inside linebacker.

But in the absence of Desmond Bishop, they’re going to lean on the former sixth-round pick who’s making near the minimum.

According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers are going to rely on D.J. Smith instead of A.J. Hawk in some of their sub packages.

Smith slides into Bishop’s starting slot next to Hawk in the base defense, but will be the only inside linebacker on the field when they go to the dime defense they want to use more this year.

“He’s got good command of the huddle, he moves well and is a physical guy,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said of Smith. “He’s got good instinct in there. If they want to run the ball he’s going to show up in the right place.”

The Packers have used Hawk as that lone inside linebacker in dime before, and his salary status (tied for sixth on the roster in annual average, at $6.75 million, per McGinn) makes it seem natural.

But Smith, who’s averaging $535,788 a year, has moved to the fore.

“He’s just a natural born leader,” linebacker Erik Walden said. “You could tell that late last year when he played. He can play, and he has a little thump.”

Capers probably has a soft spot for the Charlotte-native who wears 51, since he’s said before he reminds him a little of Sam Mills (who starred for Capers with the Panthers).

But mostly, the move stands as a bit of an indictment on Hawk, and it makes you wonder what Ted Thompson was thinking giving him a five-year, $33 million deal before the lockout.

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26 Responses to “Without Bishop, Packers leaning on D.J. Smith over A.J. Hawk”
  1. floriosfuglykid says: Aug 16, 2012 4:30 PM

    Hawk is a decent LB who never lived up to his lofty draft position. If he were a 2nd round pick no one would say anything. He isn’t bad; he’s just not wonderful. And you expect wonderful from a Top-5 selection.

  2. sterlingrodgers says: Aug 16, 2012 4:36 PM

    Hawk’s picture is next to “slightly below mediocre inside linebacker” in the dictionary.

  3. thehatefulnerd says: Aug 16, 2012 4:36 PM

    Dude’s a baller.

  4. thetokyosandblaster says: Aug 16, 2012 4:37 PM

    Well, they’ll still be better than the steelers.

    And MILES ahead of the Lions.

  5. dv5454 says: Aug 16, 2012 4:44 PM

    I’ve watched DJ a lot. The thing that has stood out to me since he’s come to Green Bay is his mean streak. Some guys just play the game more violently than others. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see DJ and Bishop playing side by side next year with Hawk in a different uniform.

  6. wludford says: Aug 16, 2012 4:58 PM

    Packer defense will be worse than last year.

  7. cowboyhater says: Aug 16, 2012 4:59 PM

    Is it me, or didn’t the Giants expose how to beat this defenseless team? They are in big trouble this year, and that’s with the best QB in the game.

  8. rpiotr01 says: Aug 16, 2012 5:08 PM

    Hawk was coming off his best year as a pro before that contract. They thought he had hit his stride, were freaked about the upcoming lockout and overpaid.

    Hawk has not lived up to that money and everyone knows it. Very possible this is his last year in GB. His cap hit this year made it impossible to trade him this off-season but next year all bets are off. They may just cut him outright.

    DJ Smith will do OK. He’s not as big a thumper or as good a blitzer as Bishop but he’ll be steady enough to do the job.

  9. woodyg says: Aug 16, 2012 5:08 PM

    TT is a good GM & has been a plus in GB but his mistakes are so obvious.

    Signing AJ Hawk to a long term extension for mega-bucks was another glaring mistake by TT.

    None the less, season 2012 is AJ’s last in Green & Gold. —– Guaranteed.

  10. nflfollower says: Aug 16, 2012 5:10 PM

    I dunno if they can be worse than last year. But considering one of their few playmakers, woodson, is getting older, who knows maybe they will be worse. But I just doubt it, they were such a bad unit last year.

  11. vekin1648 says: Aug 16, 2012 5:23 PM

    Appalachian State balllllllinnnn. Let go D.J.

  12. purpleguy says: Aug 16, 2012 5:31 PM

    Taking Hawk out on obvious passing plays isn’t anything new is it? Nor is below average tackling, being slow, and having bad hair. Someone said it right above — if he weren’t a top 10 pick, the guy would be trashed 50% less.

  13. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Aug 16, 2012 5:31 PM

    I’ve been saying for years that Hawk was a bust, but I was continually reassured by Packer fans that he was great because he played linebacker for a Super Bowl team.

  14. torturedraiderfan says: Aug 16, 2012 5:39 PM

    If he plays like Sam Mills, he should be on the field for every defensive snap. Sam Mills should be an inspiration to every linebacker.

  15. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Aug 16, 2012 5:41 PM

    Honestly, I think the Packers struggle to go 8-8 this year.

  16. irishgary says: Aug 16, 2012 5:53 PM


    Dude, I think you kind of missed the regular season, everyone exposed our D, that’s why we finished last in overall D.

    However, we did beat the Giants in the Meadowlands, and maybe if we did not have the drops in the playoff game it would have been more competitive.

    We’ll be fine this year our D will improve.

  17. lavamachine says: Aug 16, 2012 6:12 PM

    rexryanschoolofpodiatry says:Aug 16, 2012 5:41 PM

    Honestly, I think the Packers struggle to go 8-8 this year.

    Foot Coach….I really would like to see you have to put something other words on the line with your profound prediction.

    Struggle, really? Stay away from vegas….

    Let’s check back late October and see how things look in regard?

    No cake walk schedule or conference for sure, but we are a little bit better every where and TT keeps the cupboards stocked tight.

    Play Ball!

  18. der6495 says: Aug 16, 2012 6:15 PM

    Hawk belongs back as an outside linebacker who can make plays where he’s running straight ahead. Once you get him going side to side, he’s a liability (especially in coverage).

  19. westcoastpackerfan says: Aug 16, 2012 6:36 PM

    Interesting too that Bishop tweeted today that the Packers will be in good hands with DJ.

  20. scoops1 says: Aug 16, 2012 6:41 PM

    this guy was a beast against Detriot on Turkey Day…

    the way he played made me wish that he took for AJ the rest of the season

  21. chi01town says: Aug 16, 2012 6:51 PM

    Hawk was never that good an IF GREENBAY dont turn there back on him this season… They will next year. Thompson dont spend NO MONEY ON THAT TEAM. talking about building threw the draft. NOT when your 1st pick is at #28 an you have the worse defense in the NFL…. you need free agents an to make trades an that cost MONEY. The honey moon with Thompson will be over NEXT SEASON an the fans will want him gone because this season will NOT BE GOOD IN Greenbay

  22. funktron2x says: Aug 16, 2012 6:58 PM

    tokyo, your obsession with the lions belies the cognitive dissonance. You know darn well the Packers have their hands full this year.

  23. thetokyosandblaster says: Aug 16, 2012 7:00 PM

    I understand why steeler fans continue to hate the packers. Beyond the embarrassing super bowl loss.

    They will never be as storied as the green and gold, and
    The Packers will get to 7 Lombardi trophies before the steelers even get back to the Super Bowl.

    That kind of bleak outlook, combined with jealosy of a vastly superior team and fan base makes for some pretty sad individuals.

  24. irishgary says: Aug 16, 2012 8:07 PM


    Numbnuts, take a grammar class or use spell check.

    Typical Bears fan.

  25. thetokyosandblaster says: Aug 16, 2012 9:07 PM

    Hey, Funky!

    Thanks for biting, troll!

  26. funktron2x says: Aug 16, 2012 10:55 PM

    When did you become such a troll, tokyo? You used to at least have some kind of grip on reality.

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