Falcons assistant head coach/defense Jerry Gray said the team has some packages for Hawkins that will get him on the field in certain situations. Hawkins, who played at California, was a fourth-round pick (134th overall) in 2020.
“It’s just that this game presented itself to say, ‘Hey look, it’s your time to come up now, so be ready,’” Gray said of Hawkins. “When it’s time for him to go out on the football field, he’s ready to go. That’s the thing. I know it’s when you’re a starter and then you’re not starting. The first thing you think about is, ‘Man, what are other people going to think?’ And it’s like look, embrace your role and be ready.”
Hawkins has been working on his packages in practice.
“He knows we have packages for him, and when it’s time for him to go out there and play, he goes and plays,” Gray said. “He does a good job. He does it in practice. We expect every guy to have that next-man-up mentality because if one guy goes down, the group is not going to wait on you. You better be ready to go.”
Hawkins has handled well the move to a reduced role.
“When you put the team first, it’s not hard,” Hawkins said. “When you think about team, and you’re selfless, it’s not hard to do things like that. I pay attention to the game like I am starting. My mind is, so I’m talking mental reps. I still treat it like I’m a starter, no matter what my position is.”
Hawkins tries to stay on top of things when he’s on the sidelines.
“I’m going to pay attention not only to help myself, but to help the dudes that are in there when they come back to the sidelines,” Hawkins said. “That’s the main thing. If you see something that they don’t see, you are the eyes for them. So, everybody eats. Everybody makes plays.”
The Bow Tie Chronicles