A.J. Hawk Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 17

(What led to your team's two personal fouls in the first Giants game?)

I think both these teams are pretty aggressive teams. I wouldn't call either of us dirty but I think we play to the whistle, and I think when both teams are doing that then sometimes things happen and I think we respect how hard they play and that they're a physical team. I think we're a physical team as well, so it's a good match-up in that sense I think.

(Do you have to be mindful of not having a reaction that leads to a 15-yard personal foul penalty?)

Yeah, I think you always do every game you go into. I think they changed the whole retaliation rule now, it's not always the person that retaliates that gets the penalty but I think you just have to make sure you're not doing anything after the play. It's pretty simple. If a guy hits you, you can't go back after him after the play, and we've known that our whole lives, so it's nothing different. We've dealt with that every week and you have to be aware of it and make sure you don't get any dumb penalties, because those can kill you.

(What happened on the play with Plaxico in Week 2?)

I was just chasing the ball and he came and blocked me. The whistle hadn't blown so it was a good block. I didn't see him. I give him credit. I mean, I would have done the same thing. I played offense my whole life growing up, so I was doing the same thing that he did.

(What can you do against Eli to negatively affect his performance?)

Well, I think Eli's doing a great job, especially lately of finding a way to win, managing the game. Everyone obviously talks about all the time about the type of pressure he gets from outside forces - being in New York and being Peyton's brother and everything. People always, I think, put him on such a pedestal of how he needs to play and I think he's responded very well to that, and I think he's silenced some critics playing as well in the playoffs like he has. But just like every quarterback, I think, to have a chance you need to get pressure on guys and that's the goal every week going in. So we need to make sure we do that, but I think their team and Eli as well, they're peaking at the right time. People always talk about that and their team's done a good job of playing well now in January and we know it's going to be a huge test Sunday.

(As a linebacker how much do you admire the way your secondary plays and how they hit?)

We love it as linebackers. I think the whole defense feeds off of their energy and how they hit people. It helps us out because we know we can be aggressive, we can play downhill and make plays because they always tell us that they got our back, they're behind us and they're going to cover us up if we bite on a run fake or do something, so I think they bring a lot of emotion to the game, a lot of energy, as anyone that was here last week could see that. And I think this whole defense, we need them and they've been doing great all year.

(How often do you thank Ryan Pickett for tying up blockers and keeping you free to make tackles?)

I always try to let the D-linemen know how much I appreciate them. I think our D-line is so deep and we have so many guys that not only are they good at stuffing the run and plugging up holes, but they're also great pass rushers, so they can do a little bit of everything, and I think they're often overlooked by people. But they know that us linebackers appreciate what they do and how they're helping us make some plays.

(What do you do to prepare for the cold weather?)

Nothing really. I grew up in Ohio. I mean, it's pretty cold - not as cold as here I guess - but I think you can't really do a whole lot to get ready for it. We obviously didn't play great in our Chicago game at Chicago when it was pretty cold, but you can't let it affect you and I think we probably did a little bit that game, but we'll be all right. As a defensive guy it's a little different. Offensively I think they might need to prepare a little bit more and figure out holding onto the ball a little better at quarterback. I don't know how Brett does it. Sometimes I'm sure it's pretty tough getting rid of the ball in the cold and last week how snowy it was. As a defensive guy I don't think it affects us too much.

(Could you compare the expectation level at Ohio State to Green Bay?)

I think it's very similar here as it was for me at Ohio State. We were expected to win every year, we were expected to win every game, and we went into each game with that mindset. And I think it's like that around here. I think all the fans and everyone around Green Bay and the whole state of Wisconsin feels that way, that we should be a great team every year, and we feel like that, and I think some people are obviously surprised I'm sure at our record - going 13-3 this year - but I don't think the players in the locker room are surprised too much. We felt like we could do this. We know we have to come out someday and keep playing the way we have to validate it, but I think we thrive in these big games. Although people talk all the time about us being a young team we have a lot of great veteran leadership and we should be all right. I think getting that win last week and how we did overcome some adversity really helped this team.

(Who do you look to as a leader in your locker room?)

I think that's what makes this team special. There's a bunch of guys, almost too many to name. I think at each position there's key guys you can look up to. Me, obviously I came in and Nick Barnett obviously was here. He'd been playing well for four years when I got here so I obviously look up to him as a player, to talk to him. I think you look around the team, we have so many guys. I mean, people talk about Rob Davis. Yeah, he's the long snapper but he's one of the leaders of this team and that's the truth. Obviously Brett, I think everyone looks up to him and how he works, but everywhere you look on this team there's different type of leaders and that's why I think it works.

(He doesn't get a lot of attention on the defense, but how much has Brady Poppinga improved the last couple years?)

The thing I think about Brady is he does so much of the dirty work. With his position that's what comes with the territory. I think you talk about the simple power running play is called. Brady's job is basically to blow up a bunch of the guys coming to block us and that's a big reason why teams, they might come out and run the power once or twice, and Brady's hitting the guys four yards deep in the backfield and letting other people make the play, and a lot of people don't see Brady doing that, but we sure do as players on the field and we appreciate that. I think it is overlooked a little bit but the thing about Brady too is, Brady's big, he's fast, he can cover people. He can do everything, and I think sometimes he doesn't get to show that as much as he should. But he can do everything and I think he's the ultimate team guy, though, and that's why you don't hear too much about him. He's not going to self-promote himself. He's not going to kind of do stuff like that. He comes to work every day and works as hard as anyone I've ever seen.

{sportsad300}(What makes a leader be heard by the rest of the team?)

I think you look at what someone's done on and off the field. I've been here two years, so that's all I can go back on. But especially me, I see how people carry themselves in the locker room, how they carry themselves on the practice field, what they're doing. We have a lot of character guys here and you've got to give credit to the people that are bringing the personnel in. They're not just looking for players, they're looking for guys that'll fit into this team, and I noticed that from Day 1 that people around here, they get along, they want to play well together, they want to work with each other and I think that's what I go on. When someone steps up whether they're saying something or leading by example or doing whatever, you respect them for it because you know it's true and I think sometimes in other places there might be some guys that are doing things, they have ulterior motives. They're doing it for a reason to try to maybe, I don't know, get publicity, do different things, but here I think everyone's true and they're honest in what they do.

(Did you pick Bobby Carpenter's brain at all?)

I haven't got to talk to him much since last game, so no I haven't, not about the Giants really.

(What did you think of Kabeer's presentation of the Facing the Giants DVD back in June?)

I enjoyed it. I think any time that coach lets Kabeer get up and speak in front of the team, people are worried about the length of his presentation, but he did a good job on it. I think the coach gave him a limit of how long he could go, but once he got up there, I think the thing with Kabeer is you know it comes from his heart and he really feels like something he's doing can help this team, and he bought us all that that DVD. Kabeer is definitely one of the cheapest guys I know and he said, 'Obviously me buying these DVDs for you guys, I feel like the can really help you and I feel like they can help this team,' so I think we enjoyed it. Everyone on this team did. Right before I came in here Kabeer told me he was actually going to write a book about this season so, I don't know, you guys might want to think about that. I don't know what's going to be in it, but I'm sure it's going to mention the movie too.

(Besides showing the movie did he talk about you being a Super Bowl team?)

Yeah, I mean Kabeer did. In his presentation, when he was speaking to us he basically, you know, told us he believed this team, we can be a Super Bowl contender. Obviously every single team, I'm sure people are sick of hearing that. Every team might go into the season and they tell you, 'Oh we feel like we can win the Super Bowl,' and sometimes you believe them, sometimes you don't. But I think with this team we believed him and we were feeling the same way. That's why we took to his presentation and his speech. We felt like we're all thinking the same thing, so it was good to see someone else and a guy at Kabeer's playing, what, eight or nine years in the league, he believed that. He's been around for a while and he sees where this team could go, and at this point we put ourselves in position to get there. We have to show up Sunday night.

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