Bishop injured his hamstring in the first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. He underwent surgery 10 days ago with a minimal chance of being able to play this year. The Packers officially placed Bishop on injured reserve on Monday when they were making their roster cuts down to 75 players.
Losing their inside linebacker is a major blow to a Packers team with high hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. Green Bay now looks to D.J. Smith to be the starter alongside A.J. Hawk.
The Packers are confident in the type of player Smith is capable of being, but to expect him to replace Bishop’s production on his own is crazy. Every player must step up their game and do a little more to replicate what the defense will be missing without Bishop on the field.
Smith has recorded 13 tackles, seven solo, in three preseason games this year. He will be expected to bring the heat when rushing the quarterback, make tackles, prevent the run, and play 100 percent of the snaps this year. In 16 games last season he recorded 43 tackles and one interception but will have to step those numbers way up in order to successfully contribute.
Bishop had a career year last season as he led the team in tackles (115) and was second in sacks (5) despite missing three games with an injury. He was the most active player on the field as he consistently stuffed runners and blitzed with confidence. On a defense that struggled with the fundamentals of tackling, Bishop was always sound in technique and rarely let a player get away. He is a naturally born leader and the defense will miss that the most without him on the gridiron.