Packers Injuries: Bishop’s Pass Rushing Tough to Replace

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Desmond Bishop
Packers LB Desmond Bishop is helped off the field after huring his knee Thursday in an exhibition game against the Chargers.

As the Packers wait for (hopefully good) news about the seriousness of Desmond Bishop’s injury, let’s take a quick look at where the linebacker will be missed most if he’s out for an extended period, or (gulp) the season.

Bishop was one of the few defensive players who made plays in 2011. That’s a vague phrase, but if you watched every Packers game you know what I’m talking about.

Very few Packers defenders flew to the ball last season and actually made something happen at the point of contact. Bishop did, and if he’s out, that playmaking ability will be sorely missed.

D.J. Smith likely will fill in for Bishop. I think Smith has the skills to replace a good chunk of Bishop’s playmaking ability beyond the line of scrimage. If Smith is around the ballcarrier, odds are he’s going to bring him down. He’s a tackling machine.

If you’re a sound tackler, you’re bound to make a few higher impact plays as well. Cause a fumble, lay out a TE going for a catch over the middle, tip away a would-be TD pass. Those types of plays tend to happen for guys who are fundamentally good at football, and I think Smith is fundamentally good at football.

It’s in the other team’s backfield where Bishop will be tough to replace.

Bishop is a good pass rusher. He’s not  known as a pass rusher, but he got after the QB when asked to blitz last season. His five sacks were second on the team and he added a number of QB pressures as well.

When Smith filled in for Bishop in the latter half of 2011, he had no problems tackling. If Smith was around the ballcarrier, the ballcarrier ended up on the ground.

But Smith looked lost when blitzing. He wasn’t a factor at all and usually got swallowed up by a lineman or easily discarded to the outside and away from the play.

If Bishop is out, and Nick Perry or Jerel Worthy don’t immediately help the pass rush, the loss of Bishop is a serious blow. It puts even more pressure on a secondary that struggled to cope with a nonexistent pass rush a season ago.

I know Kevin Greene is the Packers outside linebackers coach and Smith plays inside, but if Bishop is out, it wouldn’t hurt to have Greene take a break from working with Clay Matthews and Nick Perry and try and teach Smith a thing or two about getting to the quarterback.

Meantime, cross your fingers that Bishop’s injury wasn’t as serious as it looked.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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  • R. Frailing

    Do you think Lattimore might be able to pick up some of the pass rushing assignments? I know he’s raw and at a new position but I’m sure he picked up some skills from Kevin Greene last year.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Lattimore has put on some weight, as requested and is being looked at as a special teams demon for this year. Don’t think he’ll get a lot of pass-rush opportunities. So ‘oto is still better in that regard.

  • Brooklyn81

    And what about Manning when can we t he has to offer

    • Adam Czech

      Time will tell on both Latimore and Manning. I haven’t seen enough of them to make a judgement either way.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I was high on Manning in the draft, not as a star, but a very versatile “can play multiple positions” type guy that every team needs. he will need time, though…

  • Ron LC

    MM’s comments post-game left some room for hope. He used the word “sprain” when refering to his knee. But he also said hamstring in the same context. The sprained knee and hamstring combined could point to an extended recovery. Let’s hope for the best.

    I have confidence that DJ will be an adequate replacement. However, I was hoping to see Bishop and DJ combined in passing situations this year. Hawk and DJ willl just not be as reliable.

    • Adam Czech

      There has already been hints that Capers will play more dime this season. If Bishop is out, I’d expect to see more dime than usual.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      In the past MM has used the word “sprain” in post-game pressers to describe what eventually turned out to be a variety of different injuries. As a result, I don’t put any real significance to that term.

  • Brian Brohm Sucks

    The Bishop injury sucks. Hopefully he is only out for 4-6 weeks and we can get him back midseason.

    A bigger injury is the House injury. DJ Smith is an adequate starter, we have nobody behind House at this point. Hayward has disappeared and Bush should not be playing quality minutes as a defensive player. I wanted House to be the starter, Hayward to be the future, and for Shields to be the emergency guy….now we’re in trouble if House is hurt. He had a great game until that injury ruined it.

    Starks needs to turn it up, or it’s time for the Alex Green show as the main guy.

  • Brian Brohm Sucks

    Manning and Lattimore have not shown enough in camp or in games to show that they are ready to play major minutes in the NFL. Manning was a pick for the future….or special packages. He isn’t even close at this point.

    Dezmon Moses looks to be a powerful dude. He really extended his arms nicely a few times on some O-Linemen and showed that he can play with some punch. Didn’t see much in the way of a pass rush from him….but he looked solid.

  • Brian Brohm Sucks

    I liked what I saw from some of our BIGS. Muir, Merling, Worthy, Pickett….they all held the point of attack well and moved well. I can’t wait to see Mike Daniels play….we need him to get healthy. Our ILB’s didn’t have a very good night. OLB’s were average.

  • Brian Brohm Sucks

    The excessive celebration penalty on Perry goes down as one of the worst calls I have ever seen. Ridiculous. We need to get the real refs in there. That little dude that made that call acted like it was a high school game. He should be fired on the spot for that nonsense. And nobody better say the flag was thrown because Perry pushed on the QB’s head, cause the flag was thrown afterward….once he flexed. Complete BS. If you are reffing an NFL Game, please watch a few games so you know what the heck you are doing out there….Jesus.

  • Brian Brohm Sucks

    If McCarthy is going to play Herb Taylor as the starting OLT, then he needs to chip on every passing play that Aaron Rodgers is out there playing QB. Rodgers playing with Herb Taylor protecting his backside is putting the entire season in jeopardy. WHEN IS SHERROD GOING TO BE HEATHY!!!!!!!???????? I heard that he was recovering nicely, but now I hear rumors that he could be on the PUP LIST for the first 6 weeks…..what the heck???!!!!!! Newhouse better be ready to go!! Mr. Clifton??? Are you out there????

    • Oppy

      I can only speculate on the timeline for Sherrod, but I have it on good authority that he is most likely to be either Snickery or Butterfingery, despite all other rumors to the contrary.

  • Brian Brohm Sucks

    Borel hasn’t done much yet this preseason, and Gurley has been hurt. Is everyone happy that we kept Donald Driver on our roster NOW????

    • Mojo

      BBSucks, I enjoyed your spasm of comments, especially firing the crappy ref on the spot. Could you imagine if they would really do that….

      I like the cut of your jib.

  • BTF

    Seems like if Bishop is out for an extended spell any really effective ILB pass rush would need to come from Manning or Lattimore – as it doesn’t seem to be a strength of any of the remaining more established ILB’s. Big ask though with Manning a rookie and Lattimore barely more experienced and in his first year at ILB.

    On that note I had thought that Brad Jones was moving inside this year has there been any reason given why he’s back as a OLB ? Might be an option to move back inside and possibly maybe more effective rushing as a blitzer rather than an OLB ?. Or am I talking rubbish…

    • Adam Czech

      He’d be worth a look. Ideally, the Packers won’t have to rely on an ILB for pass rush. Ideally…..

  • Ron LC

    FLASH! Mortenson says Cedric Benson is in GB and will sign with the Pack. Reliable? He’s theoretically a reporter (kind of) and you know what I think about them.

    • Brad

      Think it’s a great move. I believe he will play with a chip on his shoulder to try and earn his next contract. Hopefully it also lights a fire under Starks.