As the Detroit Lions look ahead to their Monday night, October 22 matchup with NFC North rivals, the Chicago Bears, they find themselves, once again, in a familiar predicament. Entering practice on the final two days before the NFL kicks off weekend number seven, the vastly-underachieving defensive backfield has found itself down to two healthy players - cornerbacks Chris Houston and Jonte Green. Against the offensive unit of Jay Cutler and the Bears' receiving corps, it's highly unlikely that the duo will be able to achieve much. In response, Detroit says hello to a familiar face.
On October 18, while most of the Detroit sports landscape was focused on Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and the World Series-bound Tigers, their Ford Field-based counterparts were busy bolstering their secondary with the returning Alphonso Smith.
Smith, the former Lion who was among the final cuts during the team's preseason trimming, re-enters the discussion as the potential third option on Monday night. In two previous seasons with Detroit, Smith notched eight interceptions, and tallied 27 tackles during the 2011 season alone.
Detroit acquired Smith in a deal which sent tight end Dan Gronkowski to Denver. The former Wake Forest standout was expected to eventually take over one of the starting slots in a deeply-lacking defensive backfield. However, due to injury, lack of production and the emergence of other key players and draft picks, Smith became expendable prior to the current season.
In order to make room for Smith, Detroit cast out running back Keiland Williams. In just over two seasons, spent with Washington and Detroit, Williams has tallies 459 yards and five touchdowns. This season, however, he has barely managed to reach three total yards on only two carries. In a backfield which includes Mikel Leshoure, Kevin Smith and the emerging Joique Bell, Williams' release was a foregone conclusion.
Against Chicago, and throughout the rest of the 2012 season, Smith will need to provide every bit of the talent he was forecast to have had, coming out of college. Very few players get the opportunity placed before him. He, and the Lions, should hope it becomes a viable decision - for both of their sakes.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Detroit Lions
- Chicago Bears
- Alphonso Smith
- Kevin Smith