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Nick Barnett is out for the season with an ACL tear

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PackaCracka was much quicker on this story than me in the FanPosts, and he brings up an excellent question:

"Barnett currently leads the team in tackles with 63, but that's about all he's done. We know Nick will play next year; he signed a pretty big contract.

The question is; Is this a huge loss?"

We were awful with you, so we can't be much worse without you. If this injury happened in any season before 2008, I would have said that LB Nick Barnett is irreplaceable and the defense will suffer without him. But that just isn't the case this season. He's been blocked, a lot, on running plays, but the pass defense has been lights out this season with him playing on every down.

It's a terrible injury, he will have a brutal rehab in front of him. Hopefully it all goes well, just look at the ongoing QB Tom Brady surgery/rehab saga to see how it can go bad, and he'll be healthy and ready to play and regain his 2007 form next May.

Mike McCarthy has said that he doesn't know who will replace Barnett. Tom Silverstein's looking at LB Desmond Bishop:

"Bishop probably offers the best option for solidifying the run defense. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound linebacker is aggressive to the ball and packs a good punch. His best play Sunday was a strip of Peterson on fourth and 1, causing the Vikings to turn the ball over on downs."

The run defense was lousy last Sunday with Bishop in for most of the game anyway. Silverstein did admit Bishop was awful in pass coverage, something Mitchell brought up too.

Although he was deactivated last week, LB Brandon Chillar has to be the new middle linebacker. This season, he's probably just as good in run defense as Barnett. He's arguably the best linebacker in pass coverage too. It will be an adjustment for him to play in the middle, but he's clearly been the top backup LB this season. Bishop hadn't played at all until Barnett was injured. I'm sure the only reason Chillar was inactive over Bishop on Sunday was special teams. They didn't think they would need another linebacker and Bishop plays more on special teams. The Packers have to put their best players out on the field, and Chillar is better than Bishop.