Neil's NFL Daily: June 18, 2013
Two items of news dominated the NFL landscape yesterday — Desmond Bishop’s release by Green Bay, and the attempt at humor by some Atlanta radio hosts who somehow thought it was a good idea to mock Steve Gleason. Let’s a have a look at both those stories.
Tuesday, June 18th
Desmond Bishop Looking For a New Team
When Bishop refused to take a pay cut yesterday the Packers felt they were left with no option but to let the inside linebacker go. It was a shame for all concerned as no loss of form had led to this circumstance, but rather an injury sustained last preseason when he ruptured his right hamstring.
I’ve always thought highly of Bishop, going back as far as 2009 when he looked good in limited action as a backup, and liked him even more after he justified that faith when given a starting berth in 2010. Frankly, for a number of years, I’ve seen A.J. Hawk as a player the Packers should look to upgrade from but somehow he’s survived — in part, this is probably due to his lofty draft status (no front office wants a fifth overall selection off their books), and in part it’s because of unfortunate injuries to more productive players. Here again, with Brad Jones coming into his own when playing inside, the best combination for Green Bay would have been Bishop and Jones, but once more (just as when they let Nick Barnett go previously) Hawk survives.
Kansas City was touted as an early favourite to win his services, but that was always unlikely. The Chiefs usual passing sub-package is dime, meaning that a second ILB is only on the field in base. While I like Bishop, he’s no Derrick Johnson so would 300-400 snaps a year be enough for a guy who just turned down a pay cut from a team I’m sure he enjoyed playing for?
The situation in Minnesota is better, but perhaps there could be problems here too. After a superb season in 2011, where he showed some skill as a pass defender, Erin Henderson struggled in that regard last season. The Vikings are now left with the choice of believing that was a blip or alternatively accepting Henderson is a two-down type and looking to upgrade. Bishop could be that player and automatically make the unit much stronger — but only if he is fit.
Whichever way you look at it, only a desperate team is likely to alter their plans at this late juncture — with OTA’s and minicamp over there is only a CBA-limited training camp with which to prepare a brand new player for a key role. It will be a mark of just how vulnerable the Vikings feel in that regard if they do indeed sign him, particularly if it’s only for a year.
Steve Gleason Stands in for Peter King
It’s not much like me to go so far off actual football talk, but I was just about to tweet Gleason’s superb column as a backup on MMQB when the news broke regarding the hosts on Atlanta radio 790 AM mocking him. At first I thought it may be a bit of a storm in a teacup because the audio wasn’t released and at times political correctness doesn’t do many people any favors, but once I heard the audio I felt the firings that followed were completely justified. In my opinion if you are going to do close-to-the-bone stuff there needs to be a clear rationale (e.g. exaggerating a destructive attitude to paint its flaws in more clear relief) and it needs to be funny — obviously this was neither.
However, the real point here isn’t the three guys who just didn’t stop to realize that, it was the article itself which was both incredibly educational and moving. There have been a few guests on Peter’s MMQB that have simply “mailed it in” but nothing was more diametrically opposed to that than Steve’s piece. I usually work on the principle that if I learn one new thing from a thousand-word article, reading it was time well spent, but here I got substantially more than that. Dealing with death is likely to be important to us all at some stage or another and pushes many people to do incredibly irrational things, but here is a man facing that and helping us all to better understanding. I for one would recommend it to everyone.
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