The Green Bay Packers lost three starters in the game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, yet all of the backups played very well. Ted Thompson had to be smiling a bit.
Both inside linebackers, Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk, left the game due to calf strains. That isn't surprising, as the Packers played their third game in just 10 days on Thanksgiving. However, the two guys that replaced Bishop and Hawk did a fine job.
I'm talking about D.J. Smith and Robert Francois. Smith, a sixth-round draft pick out of Appalachian State in 2011, had five tackles and one assist. Francois, a third-year player out of Boston College who first joined the practice squad of the Packers in 2009, had three tackles and a key interception.
The play after Francois' interception was the 65-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones.
LG Josh Sitton also went down with a knee injury. Sitton was replaced by Evan Dietrich-Smith, who did a nice job and who also was involved in one of the key plays of the game. Again I'm talking about the personal foul committed by Ndamukong Suh, after Dietrich-Smith almost bent Suh over with an excellent block. That led to Suh's stomping incident and his ejection.
The Packers have a lot of quality depth on their roster, especially at wide receiver. The Packers may have also shown another important weapon for the team to use down the stretch. I'm talking about the Thanksgiving debut of undrafted rookie RB Brandon Saine, who played his college ball at Ohio State.
Saine only had 10 yards rushing on two carries, plus a catch for nine yards, but Saine has opened some eyes on the coaching staff of the Packers. I expect Saine to get even more chances to shine over the last five games of the regular season and into the playoffs.