0-24...that's what Kevin Smith probably remembers best...that a team that had just lost 24 straight games didn't think he was good enough to play for them. He wasn't even brought to training camp as a roster fill in back when they could have 82 guys to practice with.
So he sat on his couch for the last eight weeks...working out in the morning and then....coming home and waiting...
He had six different try outs with NFL teams and....he wasn't picked up until Jahvid Best missed his third straight game with concussion symptoms....and even when the Lions picked him up, they figured he'd only do spot duty until Best came back.
Let me just say this, because it scream of how good of a story this is, Matthew Stafford bounced back from throwing two awful interceptions with his broken finger to throw FIVE touchdown passes to five different receivers and NONE of them were named Calvin Johnson...and nobody's talking about it...everybody wants to talk about a guy that Matt Millen drafted and the Lions cut and then brought back off of the trash heap.
Let me also say this...despite the Lions 7-3 record...I don't think this team has proven anything...in fact, it's brought up a heck of a lot more questions than it's answered.
The Lions were down 24-7 to a 2-8 football team. This game should have been a blow out. We learned last week that if you go down by 17 or 20 points to a GOOD football team...you don't come back.
And, outside of maybe Minnesota, the Lions don't have any gimme games left on their schedule. They cannot fall into huge deficits against the Packers (twice) or the Saints or the Chargers or Raiders. The Lions are 7-3 and will need to win at least three of their remaining six games to make the playoffs. Which means if the Lions can find a way to win this week against the Pack....they may just be able to write their own ticket to post season play.
But back to Kevin Smith...during his rookie season, which was pretty impressive, he still didn't rush for a thousand yards. He is not an every down back. Kevin Smith is the minimum of what the Lions were hoping to get out of Mikel Leshoure...and for right now, that's OK.
In 2008, when Smith was drafted, he ran with reckless abandon...but he never had the top end speed to take any runs the distance. After he suffered two injuries in successive years...he no longer broke all those tackles and he still didn't have top end speed...that's why the Lions decided not to bring him back this year.
Now, he appears to be healthy, he is again making people miss and breaking tackles...but he STILL does not have that top end speed...that's why he was a third round pick to begin with. He is a compliment to Jahvid Best, not a replacement. Smith is a pounder and grinder and he may very well be exactly what the Lions need for the rest of this season in order to keep defenses honest. He should average about four yards a gain...and if he does that the Lions should be ecstatic.
If he does it against the Packers this week and the Lions manage the upset...Smith may have to show he can do it in the playoffs too.