If B.J. Raji and A.J. Hawk had a baby, he would fit in perfectly on the Packers defense.
Now that you’ve cleaned up the vomit and are fully recovered from the mental image of Hawk and Raji breeding, please continue reading:
All signs are pointing to Hawk starting at linebacker for the Green Bay Packers for the 9th consecutive season. Over the last eight years, Hawk has amassed 832 tackles, 18.5 sacks, nine interceptions and four forced fumbles.
If I were to ask you to name a memorable Hawk tackle or a key play where he forced a fumble or knocked down a pass, could you do it? I’m racking my brain right now and the only play I can come up with is when he sacked Sam Bradford in 2011 and flipped off the Packers bench.
That play was memorable, but not necessarily because of the impact it had on the game.
Raji had dollar signs in his eyes when he turned down a lucrative contract extension from the Packers midway through last season. Those dollar signs turned to tears after Raji’s play fell off a cliff, the extension offer was withdrawn, and Raji returned to Green Bay on a 1 year “prove-it” deal worth $4 million.
If I were to ask you to name a memorable play in Raji’s career, I guarantee everyone reading this will cite the pick-six against the Bears in the 2011 NFC title game and the ensuing Raji Dance. Raji also had 6.5 sacks in 2010 and occasionally gets featured in replays blowing up the center or pushing back a double team and wrecking a running play.
It’s safe to say both Hawk and Raji have failed to meet Packers’ fans expectations. Yes, Hawk is consistent, but with the No. 5 pick in the draft, Packers fans wanted a guy who scared the other team, not someone who’s just consistently ok. Raji has had moments of brilliance, but gets wiped off the line far too often and disappears for long stretches that lead to breakdowns in the Packers run defense.
Basically, if Hawk had some of Raji in him — an occasional flashy play that changed a game — and Raji had some of Hawk in him — more consistency — both players would be closer to meeting the expectations of Packers fans.
The offspring of Hawk and Raji, who would undoubtedly be named B.J. Hawk or A.J. Raji, would be perfect for the Packers defense.
Hawk and Raji are durable, which is a major anomaly on the Packers defense. Combine that durability with the steady tackling and firey attitude of Hawk and the raw athletic ability and size of Raji and you’d have an ideal player.
You’d also have one helluva celebration dance. I’d call it the “Middle Finger Mackarena.”
Unfortunately for Packers fans, genetics and basic laws of human decency prevent Raji and Hawk from bearing a child. Instead, we have to rely on another season of hoping that Hawk makes more impactful plays and Raji doesn’t end up on the back of a milk carton for half the season.
This column has totally gone off the rails, so let me try and close it with some sense of normalcy: Has Raji or Hawk had the better career so far?
Even though we might remember more plays from Raji, the edge here has to go to Hawk. As frustrating and underwhelming as Hawk can be, he doesn’t completely disappear like Raji often does. Plus the middle finger celebration is slightly better than the fat guy dance.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Michelle at Bleacher Report argues that the Packers should use fewer shotgun formations. It’s tough to argue with her. When under center, Aaron Rodgers had an 83.3 percent accuracy rate with a 120.6 QB rating compared to 78.3 and 100.5 out of the shotgun. With Eddie Lacy now in the backfield, putting Rodgers under center more often should also boost the running game and allow the Packers to use more multiple sets.
- Brian Carriveau at CheeseheadTV highlights how the Packers don’t pay much for wide receivers compared to other teams, and how that’s about to change with looming extensions for Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Nelson was grossly underpaid with his previous extension, and he’s talking like his re-signing with Green Bay is a foregone conclusion. Even if he’s slightly underpaid with the upcoming extension, he’ll still rake in a ton of cash and boost the Packers overall spending on receivers.
- Here’s more on the Nelson and Cobb contract situation from ALLGBP.com’s Thomas Hobbes.
- Jason Hirschhorn breaks down the film on new Packers DT Khyri Thornton. Hirschhorn’s conclusion: “Thornton remains an intriguing (albeit high-risk) prospect who could carve out a role in the base 3-4 defense over the next two years. He also brings enough versatility to contribute in the Packers’ 4-3 under packages. The pressure is on Dom Capers and Mike Trgovac to find a way to get Thornton snaps along a crowded defensive line.” (I never heard of Thornton before so I’ll take Hirschhorn’s word for it.)
- Ian Hanley power ranks the Packers safeties. Based on last season, here’s how my rankings would look: 1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (because he can’t be any worse than the other safeties on the team); 2. Morgan Burnett (because there was nobody else to put at No. 2); 3. Micah Hyde (because why not?); 4. Whoever else can walk upright and play safety.
- The Out of the Pocket podcast team at Packerstalk.com breaks down OTAs and hot yoga. OTAs and hot yoga go together like Brett Favre and questionable decisions.
- It sounds like Scott Tolzein is making a good impression at Packers OTAs. I was surprised by Tolzein’s arm strength last season and look forward to seeing what he can with a full offseason in the Packers system. To me, Tolzein has a higher ceiling than Matt Flynn.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
- Some people’s reactions to Bowe Bergdahl’s return home is embarrassing. There’s not an *asterisks next to Support Our Troops that says *but not the troops who may have made a poor decision while under extreme stress in a war zone that most of us will never understand. As far the negotiating with terrorists talking point, every president negotiates with terrorists and every president will continue to negotiate with terrorists. Why does everything has to turn into a political circus that makes Americans dumber?
- I’m in the middle of “Console Wars,” a new book that digs into the video game battle between Sega and Nintendo in the early 1990s. So far, it’s a great read. I wasted a lot of my teenage years playing NHL 94 on the Sega Genesis. I was also one of the few kids who owned a Sega Master System.
- Best rock band you’ve never heard of: Red Fang.
- Friday was the 70th anniversary of the attack on Normandy Beach. There’s nothing I can say to capture the importance of that day, so listen to the men who were there instead.