Larrivee says more than a dozen injured Packers is 'big problem'
GREEN BAY - The injury bug has hit the Green Bay Packers' training camp hard.
Injuries to key parts of the team, including the loss of linebacker Desmond Bishop due to a possible season-ending hamstring and knee problem, could "hamstring" the Packers in many ways before the season even starts.
"The problem the Packers are facing is that they have 18, 19 guys sitting out of practice every day, at least in the last week or so. That's a big problem," said Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Voice of the Packers" Wayne Larrivee.
"You've got to get guys work. You've got to get quarterbacks' timing with wide receivers. You've got to get people work in the defense."
Larrivee emphasized the need for repetitions in practice among entire units, so that teammates are familiar with each other's actions so they can be more prepared for the regular season.
"When you have this many people down, you can say, 'Most of them will be back for the regular season opener.' That's fine, but will they be prepared for the regular season opener the way they should be?"
According to Larrivee, Bishop's injury leaves a hole in the level of physicality in the middle of the Packers' defense.
"When you lose Desmond Bishop, you lose the hammer in the middle on your defense. D.J. (Smith) is going to make a lot of players, a lot of tackles, but he's not the physical player that Desmond Bishop is. Nobody on that linebacking corps is," said Larrivee.
"Clay Matthews is your star. A.J. Hawk (is) the brains of the unit, knowing where to get people lined up. You've got your rookie, the fresh face Nick Perry, and then Desmond Bishop (is) your hammer. You've lost your hammer."
Larrivee says that Smith may not present such a pounding force inside, but he still can be a solid contributor on the inside.
"They've got a good player in D.J. Smith. He's undersized...he only goes 5' 11". This kid knows how to play. (He has) great instincts, probably the best instincts of the linebackers on the team."
Larrivee also made the point that the irregular health of James Starks is also an issue. He was injured in Thursday's preseason loss to San Diego.
"You need to have something that can threaten a defense a bit. When the Packers made that Super Bowl run, James Starks gave them that...rushed for (more than) 300 yards over four games. He hasn't been able to stay healthy. That's the number one concern. His performance, dropping balls, fumbles, that kind of things, yes, but the fact is, I don't know if they can count on him to stay healthy."
The Packers signed free agent running back Cedric Benson this weekend.