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Insider: Bishop impresses in return to action

Aug. 7, 2012
 

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Linebacker Desmond Bishop missed the first week of training camp because of the pulled calf muscle. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette

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In just two days in pads, Desmond Bishop has made his presence felt.

The Packers starting inside linebacker had an impressive two-play sequence during a move-the-ball team period on Monday night. First, he dropped into a middle zone and picked off a Graham Harrell pass intended for tight Tom Crabtree. Then on the next play, he blitzed and sacked Harrell.

Bishop missed the first week of training camp because of the pulled calf muscle he sustained while working out on his own before the players reported and was placed on the non-football injury list. He returned late last week but didn’t take part in the Family Night scrimmage because it would have been his first padded practice.

In his first full-pads practice on Sunday, he drilled fullback Nic Cooper to break up a swing pass during a goal-line period.

Though coach Mike McCarthy didn’t like the unnecessary hit on Cooper, one night later he praised Bishop, saying things are “definitely different with Desmond on the field.”

“I think he would clearly classify as one of our better pressure players,” McCarthy said. “So you definitely feel the impact when he’s on the field. It’s great to have him back. He’s one of our veteran guys. He has a complete understanding of the defense. He’s an excellent base and sub player.”

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If the Packers need to convert a 2-point play with the game on the line, they will need to execute better than they did late in Monday’s practice.

The offense went 1-for-6 on 2-point plays with each quarterback taking two turns.
First, Aaron Rodgers missed Jordy Nelson low and then was nearly picked off by Tramon Williams on a pass for Donald Driver.

Then Harrell hit Cooper in the left flat, but Cooper got drilled and fumbled shortly before the goal line. On his next play, Harrell had to scramble and threw incomplete.

Third-stringer B.J. Coleman had the only successful try, hitting receiver Jarrett Boykin on a back-shoulder throw. On the final attempt, Coleman threw the ball away out of the back of the end zone.

Last season, the Packers failed in their only two-point attempt, against Atlanta on Oct. 9.

Did you notice?

• With 17 injured players not dressed for practice and two others — cornerback Sam Shields (elbow) and running back Brandon Saine (hamstring) — dropping out, McCarthy ended things after one hour and 44 minutes, making it the shortest practice of training camp. It was also the final day of nine installation practices in which the entire offense, defense and special teams schemes were taught and practiced. Starting Tuesday, practices will have game-planning periods designed specifically to prepare for the upcoming opponents.

• Free-agent defensive tackle Daniel Muir was signed more for his run-stopping ability but has showed up well in the one-on-one pass rushing drill. He won two of his five reps on Monday and has a solid 10-15 record in the drill.

• Receiver Donald Driver had a bad drop on the first play of a red-zone period but then caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers on the next play.

• Outside linebacker Vic So’oto hasn’t made many impact plays, but he sacked Harrell during the move-the-ball team period.

• McCarthy has an appreciation for Packers’ history, including some memorable media moments. When a phone range during his post-practice press briefing, he said: “Is this where I’m supposed to flip out with the phone?” It was a thinly veiled reference to the 2005 incident in which McCarthy’s predecessor, Mike Sherman, cut short a press conference because a phone rang and then had quarterback Brett Favre’s press conference for later that day canceled after the owner of the phone refused to come forward.

rdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @RobDemovsky.

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