CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 10: Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers reacts to a play during the game against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
One Steve Smith down, one Steve Smith to go.
The troubling part is that this week's Steve Smith, the one who plays for Carolina, is patently better than the one on the Giants, who torched Dallas' secondary to the tune of 10 catches, 134 yards and a touchdown last week. Orlando Scandrick, who will be replaced in the starting lineup this week by Mike Jenkins per the normal rotation, had his cookies eaten by the former Smith; the latter, as it seems, took notice.
"Well no. 32, I remember no. 32, because they've been playing him on ESPN pretty frequently," said Smith, in a conference call with the Dallas media yesterday. "So (laughs)... I'm not sure exactly about him. With the scouting report we got, he probably won't be in because he's being played repeatedly on the rotation of ESPN, so I'd expect Jenkins to play a little more than him."
Ouch. Talk about salting a wound.
Smith, who has always been candid, or as candid as one could reasonably hope for a pro athlete to be, in interviews, also had mixed reviews of Dallas' new home in Arlington, which he first saw in June, when he shot a Samsung commercial there. At least to this end, it seems that he held his tongue to some degree.
"Interesting," Smith said. "Very interesting."
Smith stopped short of calling the JerryTron a cumbersome albatross representing nothing more than excess, but still, his reviews were less than shining.
"Uh, I think it's kind of confusing a little," Smith said, about the record-breaking videoboard. "Well, I think for the opposing fans, you know, like the Panther fans that [are] going to be there, the team's family, of players, they put them generally in the nosebleeds in the back corner, you won't be able to see the other [side of the] field through those big screens.
"That's kind of what I thought."
One gets the feeling that the receiver is not alone in this regard.