Camp Countdown Questions series. Each day leading up to July 31st, we'll be posing a crucial question the Pack need to answer in training camp.
Hello, JonBob readers! This is Bob here with my first post. My friend and fellow Packer-backer has set the bar high with his posts and will be a tough act to follow. I'll try not to disappoint/scare you readers away.
For the last couple years, I've developed a bit of a man-crush on Desmond Bishop, a back up linebacker who normally only sees the field on special teams. I realize that this sounds strange. Not many people get excited about second-string LB's. But there are two main reasons why I really like this guy.
The first is the fact that Bishop makes plays. That is, when he gets a chance. In 3 years, he's only had one career start while accumulating 74 tackles and one sack. But despite his limited opportunities, Bishop has 4 fumbles forced at this point in his short career. When he's in the game, he's around the ball. He makes watching the second-string D in preseason games exciting. With his size, speed, and instincts, Bishop has the potential to become a disruptive force at inside linebacker, especially with guys like Raji, Pickett, and Jenkins eating up blocks at the line of scrimmage.
The second has less to do with Bishop himself and more to do with the guy ahead of him on the depth chart, A.J. Hawk. Hawk has been... decent. That's about the only way to describe him. He certainly hasn't lived up to a top 5 draft pick's expectations, but I wouldn't go so far as to call him a bust. He's smart, consistent, never hurt, works hard, doesn't miss tackles. If he was a 3rd or 4th round pick, Hawk would be considered a great find by the Packers.
But you don't draft a guy 5th overall and expect him to just be a serviceable player. You're looking for a superstar, a difference maker. Someone you can build your team around. Not a guy who only plays two downs because he's a liability in coverage. Not a guy who only has 8.5 sacks in 62 career starts. And definitely not a guy who has forced only TWO (2) fumbles. That's right. The guy with only ONE (1) career start (Bishop) has more forced fumbles than Hawk, a four year starter. As a matter of fact, Hawk went the entire 2008 season without forcing a single turnover. That dry-spell continued deep into 2009 as well until Hawk made the most spectacular play of his career in week 13 against the Ravens, leaping high into the air to intercept Joe Flacco.
You have to wonder how much longer Green Bay will continue to value Hawk's consistency over Bishop's play-making abilities. I'm actually a little surprised that Hawk is still on the team this year. His base salary has escalated and other teams are starting to inquire about the availability of Bishop. Next year Hawk is scheduled to make over $10 million and Bishop will be an unrestricted free agent. I don't see the Pack paying Hawk that $10 million while probably losing Bishop to FA. If Bishop lights it up again during the preseason, which he will, Green Bay has to unleash him.
Camp Countdown Questions series!