Detroit Lions: What the Kevin Smith Signing Tells Us About Detroit

Chris MaddenAnalyst IINovember 7, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17: Kevin Smith #34 of the Detroit Lions runs the ball against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Lions 28 - 20. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions re-signed an old friend Monday—2008 third round draft pick Kevin Smith. He joins the Lions already familiar with the offense, having been the starting tailback for two of his four years with Detroit.

But the Lions already have serviceable running backs, Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams. Despite their lack of flash, they have performed admirably.

Especially Morris, who is averaging well over four yards a carry since Jahvid Best went out—while only getting about 11 carries a game.

But the bigger question might be, what about Jahvid Best? He should be coming back soon and then what role will Kevin Smith have?

Will he be coming back soon?

There is no indication that Best will take the field Sunday when the Lions travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears.

Although the Lions and coach Jim Schwartz are notoriously tight lipped about injuries, the general consensus was that Best would be ready to play this week. Especially since the Lions are coming off their bye.

If Best does not play that will be four weeks and three games missed. The longer this goes the more you wonder if he will playing again this year.

The signing of Kevin Smith tells us the Lions are worried. It could be interpreted as the Lions bracing for life without Best.

In other words, Smith could be an insurance policy.

I suppose there could be worse insurance policies. True, Smith wasn't even on an NFL roster prior to being invited to work out for the Lions during the bye week.

He could have been working as a body guard for the other Kevin Smith for all we know!

But he is familiar with the Lions' system and he is the type of player that Schwartz loves; hard working, tough, and determined.

He is not a Pro Bowl caliber running back. You will never confuse him with Adrian Peterson—or Jahvid Best for that matter.

But with the Lions, he was never in a position to be successful. The talent around him his first and second year was not good. Then he got injured.

When the Lions drafted Best, then Mikel Leshoure, Smith was the odd man out.

Now is Smith's time for redemption. The Lions would not have re-signed him unless they saw something left. The team is obviously much improved and he will be playing for his career; quite literally.

Indications are that Best is going to be out for awhile. If Smith is going to be successful this might be his best shot. He needs to make the most of this opportunity.

If he does, it will be a win-win situation for both he and the Detroit Lions.