1) Introduction: Despite being the highly touted 5th overall draft pick in the 2006, many have considered Hawk a bust in the sense that he never lived up to his lofty draft status. While a solid player, Hawk never did show much penchant for making the big play and many fans were hopeful that Hawk would be released in the 2011 season. Much to their dismay, the Packers did release Hawk, but only to resign him literally moments later to a 5-year $33.75 million contract.
Aaron James (AJ) Hawk
Weight: 247 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Moderate; fans seemed to be resigned in the fact that Hawk would never become anything better than just a solid player; while he directed the defense in terms of play calling, many felt that he never could be the leader on the defense.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Hawk’s highlight game was against the St. Louis Rams in week 6 where he recorded 1 sack and 9 tackles in the game. Hawk’s lowlights undoubtedly were when he was injured during week 13 and 14 and had to watch his backups make multiple interceptions, which Hawk has none.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: If anything Hawk seemed to have regressed a little bit in 2011. More often than not, Hawk was a liability in coverage (which is understandable for a linebacker), but also seemed to be used more as a diversion for Desmond Bishop when pass rushing. Hawk was fairly consistent against the run with 84 tackles recorded but still had his usual issue of being a fairly poor tackler for an inside linebacker.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: While Hawk recorded 3 tackles in the game against the Giants in the playoffs, but more importantly it did seem like communication was off during the entire game; especially in one instance where the secondary was still calling out assignments when the ball was snapped. While that might be more an indictment of the secondary, blame still falls to Hawk, as he is the primary play caller on the defense.
Season Report Card:
(C) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success
(C-) Player’s contributions in the playoffs
Overall Grade for the year: C