Lions back to work; Rudi to start
A couple quick post-practice notes as the Lions return from their bye week:
The Lions have a new starting running back. Rookie Kevin Smith said he was told by running-backs coach Sam Gash that Rudi Johnson will start this Sunday against the Bears. Johnson had a big game against San Francisco, carrying 14 times for 83 yards, but Smith has never fully had a chance to show his wares. He had three carries for 14 yards against the 49ers and never got into a groove in previous weeks as the Lions fell behind big early. "If I do sit and have to watch the rest of the season, oh, I'm not going to be happy. At all. I'm not going to be happy at all," Smith said.
Found it a bit odd that several players saw deposed president Matt Millen around the Allen Park practice facility Monday. Millen, of course, was fired last week. Apparently, he was still in the building cleaning out his office Monday. Roy Williams said he didn't find that curious, but I can't think of any other company that would fire perhaps its most visible employee and then allow that person to hang around six days later.
I asked a few players about Rod Marinelli's status as a lame-duck coach, if they think he is (no) and more importantly if he's acting like one (no). Jon Kitna made the best point. "We're all lame ducks unless we start winning games," Kitna said.
On the injury front, Stephen Peterman (hand) and Travis Fisher (groin) were held out of practice Monday, while Kitna practiced. Peterman, who has four screws in his broken left hand, said he hopes to practice later this week and will try to play with his hand in a club. Drew Stanton said he did little to nothing at practice Monday. Don't expect him to play in place of Kitna this week and probably not in the next few.