The Lions say the competition for the starting running ...

The Lions say the competition for the starting running back position remains an open one.

But to anyone who's watched the team's two exhibitions, it appears rookie Jahvid Best has a stranglehold on the spot.

According to incumbent Kevin Smith, however, a lot can happen in two weeks.

"I've seen it, I'm not blind, I know what the people say - 'Kevin Smith's done.' " Smith said this month. "I'm not the type of player that gets down because I'm here, lacking support or people jumped off my bandwagon. When you're doing good, you're riding high. When you're doing bad, they're looking for the next thing."

The "next thing" he's referring to is Best, who has shown the speed and big-play abilities that have eluded Smith his first two seasons in Detroit.

"We have to push each other and be the best players we can be so we can put the best product out on the field," Best said. "We are competing and it's going to make the best of both of us, and it has to be like that."

Asked if it was as apparent to him as it is everyone else that he's got the edge for the starting job, Best said: "It's too early to call. We still have two more weeks to go."

That may not necessarily be true.

The Lions plan to play their starters into the third quarter of today's exhibition against the Browns at Ford Field, which means Best and Smith will get ample opportunities with the first team.

Still, it seems a forgone conclusion Best will start the season as "the guy."

Fantasy Impact: 

The Lions are giving the veteran some respect by saying the competition remains open, but Best will carry the load.

Read more

Browns news