The Green Bay Packers moved on from inside linebacker Desmond Bishop because of the emergence of Brad Jones. Now, it may be Jones who is in trouble of losing his job to a new up and comer.
Jones has been unable to suit up due to a hamstring injury since Green Bay’s Week 5 win over the Detroit Lions. The fact that he still ranks third on the team in total tackles (29) despite missing the last three games shows how much of an asset he truly is on defense.
With that being said, third-year player Jamari Lattimore is playing out of his mind in the place of Jones. The right inside linebacker has posted career highs across the board and has stepped up big when the Packers needed it most. Against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, he recorded 12 total tackles, a deflected pass and his first career sack, and received one of the game balls for his effort.
The 25-year-old did have one of his quieter games against the Minnesota Vikings but he still managed to record another sack along with three total tackles.
It must be pointed out that the statistics do not tell the entire story. Lattimore’s presence is clearly felt on the field as he is constantly around the action. He may not be in on every tackle but he certainly is having an impact in the middle of the field. The intensity that A.J. Hawk and he bring is one of the big reasons the Packers have one of the more feared defenses in the league right now.
Green Bay will have a problem on their hands once Jones is healthy enough to return. However, it is a good problem to have.
On a team plagued with critical injuries, it is a comfort to know that the second tier players on the depth chart can perform at a high level. Most teams would be in a really bad situation when faced with the kind of injuries the Packers have dealt with this season. Green Bay thrives on the incredible depth at every position, which is a huge reason why a deep postseason run is definitely in the cards.
It will be interesting to see what the Packers decide to do with Lattimore in the ensuing weeks. If he continues to play top-notch football then there is no way the team can take him out of the starting lineup.