Kevin Smith: Injury Won't Keep Lions RB from a Solid Week 1
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith is battling a sore ankle, but it sounds innocent enough that he will be ready to roll for the Lions Week 1 opener against the St. Louis Rams. This is great news for the Lions.
The Lions have some talent in the backfield, but most of that talent isn't going to be available in Week 1. Jahvid Best is on the PUP list, which means he won't be able to play until after Week 6, and second-year back Mikel Leshoure will start a two-game suspension in Week 1.
So this tweet by Yahoo's Brad Evans is welcome news indeed in Motor City.
Reports remain positive on Kevin Smith's ankle. Experiencing minor swelling but should be game to start Week 1 against the rancid Rams.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) August 29, 2012
Smith is going to do everything he can to get on the field and make sure he picks his team up. These first two games are Smith's chance to earn his playing time for this season before the Lions backfield begins to crowd.
The fifth-year running back was solid for the lions last year, as he racked up 356 yards at 4.9 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns in just seven games.
He knows this offense and how to produce in it, and he will have plenty of opportunities to produce against the Rams.
With only the lightly-used third-year back Keiland Williams as the only other player likely to see any time in the backfield, Smith will get plenty of work, and the Rams don't have the defense that can shut him down.
While St. Louis should make improvement on its 23rd ranking in total rush defense from a season ago, it is not exactly going to be the Steel Curtain out there. It allowed the Cowboys' DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones to rush for a combined 60 yards on 11 carries against them in their third preseason game.
With the Lions' pass-oriented offense, Smith likely won't go over 100 yards in the opener, but I expect 70-80 rushing yards and a touchdown.
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