Killer - Kevin Smith hasn't arrived yet

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tom Kowalski at continues his series analyzing individual Lions today with RB Kevin Smith. Killer says that while Smith showed he can play at a high level in the NFL during his rookie year, he also showed he still has much to learn. How fast he learns it will determine whether he continues to progress, Kowalski says:

A lot of things are going to be changing for Smith this season. One, he needs to be a more complete receiver out of the backfield, something the coaches are working with him during the off-season. Two, Smith must get better with his inside explosion and get better with his downhill running. Smith has been used to a zone-blocking scheme through most of his career - the Lions did it almost exclusively last season. While the new coaching staff will keep some of those plays, they're going to try to come off the ball with more power and less finesse. In isolation plays, for instance, Smith has to hit the gap at 100 mph, not duck and weave and hesitate until he finds an opening or cutback lane. He struggled with that earlier in the off-season workouts, but he's gotten better. But he still has to hike it up a few notches.
Kowalski adds that Smith's confidence (cockiness?) in some ways is a good thing, but coaches want to make sure it doesn't translate into a feeling for Smith that he's "arrived." "He hasn't," Killer says. Agree? Disagree? Talk about it in The Den!