Tom Silverstein had an interesting article at jsonline this morning re the play of AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop. He argues that in one game at the weak-side LB spot, statistically Bishop pretty much played as well as Hawk ever has in his whole time here (at least that’s what I believe Silverstein was driving toward). It is a good article as it tackles head-on Hawk’s poor play this year.
After watching Bishop Sunday, though, my first thought wasn’t about him outplaying Hawk at Hawk’s natural position, it was this: how the *&^@%$) can Brady Poppinga still be starting? Both Chillar and Bishop are so clearly better than Poppinga. It just doesn’t make sense. Mason Crosby should be playing in front of him! I still can’t believe TT gave Poppinga a fat contract extension earlier in the year. We have 3 games left this year and Poppinga has started and played a lot in all 13 games. Give Lansanah a chance, give Chillar a chance, give Bishop a chance, maybe try Hawk at strong-side. Anything. But don’t keep putting Poppinga at strong-side game after game – there is no upside to doing this. And don’t give me this “we like him rushing the QB crap”. He has 3 freakin’ sacks in his…CAREER! Cut your losses TT – admit you made a mistake. The guy can’t play. And now is the time to learn about who can play. Hell, if Chillar is healthy this week, start Chillar at weak-side, Hawk at strong-side and Bishop in the middle – sure couldn’t be worse than any other combination used this year. Or, if Chillar is not healthy, try Lansanah at strong-side. Anyone other than Poppinga. Should the Poppinga and Harrell sagas continue to drag on (especially now that Harrell is hurt…again…with something different…again), I’ll really worry that TT possibly has Mike Sherman-like over-loyalty problems.
Also adding to the confusion:
- why did we cut Abdul Hodge who looked SO good in pre-season.
- why didn’t Chillar beat out Poppinga in the first place – Chillar is much better than Poppinga and this seems obvious.
- why wouldn’t Bishop have been inserted as starting middle LB when Barnett got hurt. After all, HE was the back-up MLB, not Hawk – and while Hawk looked OK in his first game at MLB, he hasn’t looked good there since.
UPDATE: Thanks Aaron over at cheeseheadtv.com – the article mentioned above was written by Greg Bedard, not Tom Silverstein. Also, check out this recent update from the jsonline blog re possibility that Chillar may start this week – AT WEAK-SIDE LB! I just don’t understand this. Poppinga’s job security just baffles me, especially a week after Bishop made big plays. Chillar was brought in as strong-side competition – so why not bench Poppinga, put Chillar on the strong-side, Hawk on the weak-side and Bishop in the middle. Or, Hawk in the middle and Bishop on the weak-side. Any way they do it – GET POPPINGA OUT OF THERE! Though Bishop did make a few mistakes Sunday for sure, Poppinga makes many mistakes every Sunday but makes matters worse by having zero big-play potential. Sorry to get so worked up about this. I’m usually more measured. But I have tried for nearly 3 years (since Brady has started) to see what they see in this guy. Can’t see it. And I also do recognize that the porous D-Line makes linebacking signficantly harder. Still, now is the time to experiment so that we don’t waste time doing it early next year – and benching Poppinga is a great place to start.