Saturday, July 28, 2012
Mulling Kevin Smith as a Week 1 starter
By Kevin Seifert
Here's one for you. After months of discussion about the two-headed backfield of Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure, the Detroit Lions' starting tailback in Week 1 will be Kevin Smith.
That's just a guess, of course, but the first few days of training camp have made it a more likely scenario than we once thought. Best's concussion symptoms will be evaluated weekly but for now he is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Leshoure, meanwhile, is facing a two-game NFL suspension and on Saturday a hamstring injury limited him during practice.
The next man up is Smith, the Lions' top tailback for the second half of last season who himself has had trouble staying healthy in his career. But with Leshoure's suspension looming and Best's short-term future a complete unknown, a Week 1 starting assignment is a reasonable possibility for Smith.
"We have a lot of confidence in him," Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters Saturday morning. "He's made a lot of plays for us. If he's out there, we know he can make plays."
Smith missed 10 games in 2010 because of injuries and didn't rejoin the Lions last season until Week 10. But when healthy, Smith has proved valuable. In seven games last season, in fact, Smith produced 535 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns on 94 offensive touchdowns.
"The proof is in the pudding," Smith said last week, courtesy sportsradiointerviews.com. "When I'm healthy I can do some good things out on the football field, but I never second guess it. I just continue to work hard and I know my time is coming soon with the injuries so I know I will be fine."
Related: Make sure you check out the video of Schwartz's news conference Saturday. At about the 50-second mark, you'll see how safety Louis Delmas ended up sitting in the front row of bleachers set up for fans.