Green Bay Packers inside linebacker D.J. Smith is forced to sit the rest of the 2012 NFL season out due to a knee injury. Smith suffered the injury Sunday night in Green Bay’s 42-24 blowout win against the Houston Texans.
The 23-year-old took over the inside linebacker position after starter Desmond Bishop –the Packers top tackler from a year ago– was lost for the year after he suffered a torn hamstring against the San Diego Chargers in Green Bay’s first preseason game. Bishop’s loss was huge but at least the Packers knew they had a reliable backup in Smith to take over the duties.
Unfortunately, with Smith gone Green Bay will have to look to either Robert Francois or Brad Jones to step up big for the Packers. Head coach Mike McCarthy has preached for years that injuries will not be used as an excuse and every member of the football team is expected to perform at a high level when their name is called.
Francois seems to be the more realistic choice to take over after he started two games last season for the injured A.J. Hawk. However, Jones is the more experienced linebacker, which could be a big reason why Green Bay goes with him.
The 2012 season is looking remarkably similar to the 2010 season in which the Packers got off to a shaky start after high hopes with several injuries taking a toll on the team. Green Bay is currently 3-3 with several players on the injury report, including multiple starters. This is something the Packers have overcome in the past and with the help of an explosive offense can overcome again.
It will be interesting to see how the backups respond to all of the injuries on the team, especially the defensive side of the ball. Considering the roster is filled with talent at almost every position, the Packers should not have to worry as much as most teams would about replacing starters.
It is unfortunate Smith’s season is already over after he got a solid chance to prove himself as a top player on the defense. In six games this season, Smith has 39 tackles, two sacks, four passes defended, and three stuffs.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.