Packers LB Bishop to prove he’s learned from wait

Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop is making the most of a second

chance to be a starter.

Bishop started one game in 2008 after Nick Barnett went out with

an injury, but didn’t get a chance to finish the season as the

starter. Last season, he remained a star on special teams but

rarely got chances on defense, contributing just 14 tackles all

year.

”It was some hard times and I had doubts,” Bishop said. ”I

just felt like a caged lion and then sometimes I was thinking,

‘Well, maybe I’m not a lion. Maybe I’m a koala bear or

something.”’

But Bishop listened to teammates who told him to stay patient

and stick with it.

Barnett landed on injured reserve on Oct. 15 after wrist surgery

on Oct. 13, and Bishop found himself in the middle of one of the

biggest plays in the Packers’ 28-24 victory over the Vikings.

Midway through the third quarter, Bishop was in the right spot

at the right time when a scrambling Brett Favre fired to his left.

Bishop intercepted the former Packers quarterback and returned it

32 yards for a touchdown that gave Green Bay a 28-17 lead.

Bishop said he’s kept the ball and hopes he’ll get a signature

on it one day.

”I wonder if Brett would sign it for me? That’d be awesome,”

he said.

Bishop is in his fourth year after working through a shoulder

injury as a rookie and an ailing Achilles’ tendon in his second

season to keep his roster spot. He’s been healthy, something

welcome for a defensive unit that’s missing four starters and has

eight players already on injured reserve.

”With Desmond’s situation, it’s been more injuries, and having

been challenged on, now you have your opportunity that you’ve been

waiting for,” inside linebackers coach Winston Moss said. ”Bishop

has had a bigger challenge to come in and be a starter in that he’s

replacing someone, and he has to step up. So far, so good.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes that Bishop probably

thought he was ready for more action earlier in his career.

McCarthy said he’s certainly comfortable with his expanded role

now.

”Desmond is making a lot of plays out there, very productive,

and that (interception return) was obviously a huge impact play in

the game,” McCarthy said.

Bishop believes he’s far from done improving, and that his body

has adjusted to playing more than just a few plays each game. He’s

also more comfortable with his position after learning what he said

were five different positions at one point in his career. More

importantly, he’s gotten over his moments of doubts.

”I just felt like it was me against the world,” Bishop said.

”Not being able to get the opportunity was everybody’s fault. I

was angry at times, but at the same time, I kept my faith and I was

having tons of fun with special teams. I was just waiting in the

wings, waiting for my opportunities.”

And while he flubbed his first chance a little in 2008, he’s

been patient for the current opportunity that he’ll likely keep

through the rest of the season.

”When I go out there and practice and I go to practice against

arguably some of the best offensive players in the league and I

held my own at practice, that gave me the confidence that you know,

maybe, I can do this, I am a lion,” Bishop said. ”The

opportunities that I did have, I tried to take advantage of those

and I pretty much felt like I could play at this level.”