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Watch Out For Bishop

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Watch Out For Bishop

I recognize that this is a way, way out there possibility (hey, it's the slowest sports day of the year) but the more I watch the linebacking corps from last year, the more I think there's a distinct possibility that Desmond Bishop could shock Packers observers and possibly take one of the starting inside jobs from A.J. Hawk.

Now, I know that the company line on Hawk is that he was hurt last year, and that is most likely true. But it sure looked like Hawk came into camp last year stockier and a step slower. He never seemed to play with any kind of suddenness or explosion, even long after his injuries reportedly occurred.

Then, of course, there is the fact that Hawk has just never, at least at the pro level, shown any aptitude for getting to the passer. As I've written before, the guy is just terrible at the point of attack, seemingly preferring to play patty-cake with a blocker rather than explode through him or fly around him.

Enter Bishop.

Yes, it's one play in one game. But it is the perfect example of the type of athletic play that Hawk has never, even pre-injuries, been able to make. Notice how Bishop anticipates the blitz pick-up from the back and deftly slides around him. That's something you never see from Hawk, no matter how healthy.

Yes, Bishop has his limitations, mostly in coverage. In fact, if you watch the highlights from the Texans game, you'll see a veritable cut-up of all that is bad and good about Desmond Bishop. (And a reminder that, for some reason, none of the clips on NFL.com include the sweet play where Bishop shoots through the line and drops Slaton for about a 5 yard loss in the 1st quarter. However, this play IS included on the ITunes highlight. Curious.)

Now, having said all this, perhaps Hawk shows up at camp and just surprises us all and starts to dominate. And I've covered Hawk's pros and cons. But, especially given Winston Moss' comments at the end of the year, I think people might be sleeping on Bishop just a little bit.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (9) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

retiredgrampa's picture

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (and some gnashing of butts) if our LBers don't get better in this 3-4. So much depends on them now. How much improvement will come from the addition of Matthews is really unknown, although we all hope for the best. It may be the year when Hawk is replaced for more speed. And Barnett had better do less talking and more impact action. It is now an open question as to whether our LBing is truly a position of strength.

sep woodson's picture

I can see Bishop playing for the recovering Barnett. Unless Hawk gets injured, I don't see the coaches benching Thompson's second #1 draft pick.

AdamInEngland's picture

Interesting argument. Moving to the new system everyone has a chance, and the more I think about it, the more I see Hawk losing out. You kinda have to admit Bishop had some help from the Houston line (specifically the guard, don't know his name) on that play though.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Yes! You were luke warm when I raised this last year so thank goodness for slow sports days. As I said then, Bishop DEFINITELY needs to be coached up, but he is a playmaker and we simply don't have much of that in the LB corp. I sincerely hope he gets a real shot.

Nerdmann's picture

I've always like Bishop. I'd take a look at him on the outside, too.

Jersey Al's picture

Here's something I read from Packer Report:

"Bishop forced three fumbles in the final eight games of last season, while Barnett and A.J. Hawk have combined to force four fumbles in their 10 years in the NFL."

darthvander's picture

I couldn't agree with you more. I have never seen anything from Hawk aside from his first game in the middle against the Bears. Bishop plays with a chip that Hawk has never had. Not even in college.

packeraaron's picture

Adam - fair point about the guard play, but on the flip side, when presented with the same type of opportunity, Hawk is usually stoned by the back.

AdamOBOD's picture

Couldn't agree more Aaron. While I still believe Hawk has it in him to play up to his potential of a top 5 pick, he has A LOT to prove at training camp. I have always liked Bishop and loved when they picked him out of Cal (led the Pac-10 in tackles). He has limitations in coverage, but the 3-4 scheme may suit him the best because of those limitations.

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