Desmond Bishop was supposed to be the bright spot in shoring up a lackluster defensive middle this season, but now the Bishop has moved to another chessboard, and the Packers may need to discount double check their most recent team transaction.
Health is always paramount in the Packers decision-making process, just look at former wide receiver Terrence Murphy and free safety Nick Collins for reassurance. However, in Bishop’s case, his injury removed him for a year and up to that point his statistics and grit had been a welcome return to the leaking area since free agent, Nick Barnett’s departure.
2010 may seem like a century ago, but too quickly we forget the immediate and powerful impact Bishop had, by creating a dilemma for receivers and running backs in the middle. Take the 15-1 season where Bishop posted 5 sacks and more than 90 tackles, while trying to keep a struggling secondary together until January. Another great trait of Bishop was that he had the ability to gel with any linebacker joining him, making his Swiss-Army knife capability intriguing for any imminent injury scares throughout the season.
The hamstring surgery may have been too much for Bishop to handle, but with a little more than $4 million per year owed, couldn’t the Packers take the risk, instead of praying once again that AJ Hawk can turn the corner toward becoming a Patrick Willis-caliber linebacker? Personally, I do not see it happening.
Assistant Head Coach Winston Moss recounted the repetition of AJ Hawk’s invisibility in Tyler Dunne’s Journal Sentinel piece last year:
“His year was just quiet,” Moss said. “When he got in, there wasn’t a lot of tackle production and there weren’t interceptions so you look at his stat line and you say, ‘Well, what the hell did he do last year?’ A.J. is not a problem. A.J. is not an issue. A.J. didn’t play poorly last year. He just didn’t make those impact plays.”
Notice the resemblance from this year to last? Hawk is dependable in the sense that he will show up when needed (120 tackles and 3 sacks last year) and refine himself like a monk in the weight room, but Hawk is the not a difference maker. Yet again, who really is?
Bishop helped make a substantial difference, now what is the difference?
Once again we will have to face a former teammate in purple, but was it really necessary to give Bishop that opportunity? Let us hope it will turn in our favor like the previous times.