“You’ve got a guy who for all these years had has to hear all the whatever, all the (criticism), he’s stayed the course and he’s still standing. No matter what we put him through. The Super Bowl year, he started out the same way, where he was (only) in (in) specific personnel groupings, and in our sub packages we had Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar playing. Guess what, those guys got injured. He stayed the course, and ended up with a Super Bowl ring.

“He’s the same guy doing the same things. He’s just having more fun doing it. That intensity is still there, the execution is still there, but it’s looking a little bit different because whether it’s play speed, having more fun, whatever it is, his production has picked up versus the opportunities he’s getting.”

Hawk, though, has another explanation – a non-football, real-life explanation. He and his wife, Laura, are expecting their second child at the end of January, and the experience of being a dad to daughter Lennon, who was born in December 2010, has changed him for the better.

And, according to Hawk, fatherhood has changed him in another way, too: On the field.

“I’m just an idiot. I feel like I’m 15 years old still. I don’t feel like I’m getting older,” Hawk said. “(But) getting older, I’ve been joking around with some of our scouts, I honestly think – I’m 28 now, and for this team, that’s old – but physically and mentally, I feel like I’m entering my prime. I feel like I’m getting there. I feel like I’m getting stronger, faster. Naturally, I think your body morphs into that.

“I have one kid, I have another one on the way. I feel like I’m getting that Dad Strength, that Man Strength. I always told (ex-Packers teammate) Brady Poppinga that – he’s got a fourth kid on the way now, and he’s all big and strong. I would always say, ‘Damn, Brady, I need to have some kids and be big and strong like you.’ And I always felt like he was a couple years older because he did his Mormon mission and all that, but I always thought he was in his physical prime, too.

“He always told me how good he felt when he was like 30, and I’m starting to feel that way. I feel really good.”

Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today,” and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.