The Packers best performance of the year is being tempered by the loss of two more players for the season. Green Bay's back home after humbling the Texans in Houston 42-24 Sunday night at Reliant Stadium, but linebacker D.J. Smith and running back Brandon Saine will be staying home for the rest of the year. Mike McCarthy confirmed both players suffered season ending knee injuries during the game. Smith's knee buckled when he was unsuspectingly hit up high by Houston tackle Duane Brown. The impact came with Smith's leg planted on the ground. Borderline at best for the running play was almost over and both players were well away from the pile. Smith became the starter when Desmond Bishop tore his hamstring and needed surgery after getting hurt in the first pre-season game in San Diego. Saine blew out his knee while covering a second half kickoff. He had been used almost exclusively on special teams this year. Saine was placed on injured reserve Monday and the Pack filled his roster spot by signing free agent running back Johnny White. A fifth round pick of the Buffalo Bills last year out of the University of North Carolina, White appeared in 12 games as a rookie and played in three games this year before getting waived. Like Saine, White is a special teams prospect with limited carries, only 8 for 34 yards this year. White is 5-10, 210 pounds. On WTAQ's 5th Quarter Show Monday night, White got a vote of confidence from his five year teammate with the Tar Heels, Packers tight end Ryan Taylor. Alex Green will remain the primary back for the injured Cedric Benson, with John Starks and John Kuhn in reserve. Replacing Smith will be a bit more problematic. Brad Jones filled in against the Texans and held up OK according to McCarthy, but he, along with Jamari Lattimore and Robert Francois are all core special teams players. McCarthy wants to sort out defensive and special teams reponsibilities for all three this week before making a decision. Nick Perry dodged a bullet with his knee injury. McCarthy said the number one pick wasn't as bad as first thought but he likely won't practice much this week. Same for Sam Shields who suffered a kick to the shin. While this isn't approaching the epic injury disaster of 2010 when 15 players were in the IR club, the Packers depth is being put the test before mid-season arrives.
Statistically speaking.... I, like the Packers got a kick about all the "What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers?" talk last week. Well, nothing actually. Rodgers climbed from number 8 to the NFL's top passer rating dog with his 338 yard, 6 touchdown, no interception virtuosity against Houston. Rodgers leads the league with a rating of 105.4. He's also tops in touchdown passes with 16 and his +12 TD to interception ratio is also the league's best. Rodgers ranks third in fourth quarter passing at 107.3 and he's number three on third downs at 110.8 behind Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning. The Packers offense is also number one in red zone efficiency, scoring TD's on 14 of 18 posessions (77.8%) when moving inside an opponent's 20 yard line. James Jones leads the league with 7 touchdown catches, Tim Masthay has left more punts (18) inside the 20 than any other punter. Randall Cobb ranks 7th in punt returns (10.7) and 9th in kickoff returns (27.6). Casey Hayward's two picks against the Texans gives him three on the year, one behind Thomas DeCoud of Atlanta and Tim Jennings of Chicago and he leads all NFL rookies in interceptions.