Detroit Lions: Expect limited snaps early for D’Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift, Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
D'Andre Swift, Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions’ fans might have to wait to see the team’s running game at full strength

Following a 3-12-1 season, you might expect hope to be in short supply for fans of the Detroit Lions. After all, the long-suffering franchise is still searching for their first playoff win since George H. W. Bush was in office.

Yet, the Lions appeared to have a very strong draft class, injecting both youth and talent into the roster. That highlighted by the first-round selection of Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third overall pick.

But it was Detroit’s second-round selection of running back D’Andre Swift that might have excited fans even more as the prospect of fielding a consistent rushing attack has been a dream for years. The last time the Motor City fielded a 1,000-yard rusher was 2013.

And while the selection of Swift doesn’t guarantee that Motown has its next Barry Sanders, the prospect of both the rookie rusher and Kerryon Johnson leading the running game is exciting. Especially considering how good Detroit’s passing game looked last season under first-year offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Having a balanced offense has long been speculated as the key to the Lions finally breaking their playoff curse. And the combination of Swift and Johnson seems to be the team’s best chance of finding that balance in recent memory.

Detroit Lions fans might have to wait for true Johnson and Swift tandem

Unfortunately, Lions’ fans will likely have to wait to see this new running back tandem at full strength. Here’s what Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia told the team’s official website about working Swift slowly into the offense following a virtual offseason with no preseason games to properly prepare the rookie running back.

"” … we’re going to have to do a good job of making sure [Swift’s] acclimated for when he is ready to go to be in situations that we think he can handle, and work him in that way until we build up a background, little bit of a repertoire for him where he knows what he’s going to see in those certain situations.”"

Complicating matters is that Swift suffered a leg injury during training camp, further delaying his development. And it puts into question just how much he’ll be able to contribute to start the regular season.

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It’s clear the Detroit Lions intend on slowly acclimating rookies like D’Andre Swift into the rotation, essentially treating the start of the regular season as a continuation of their normal offseason training program. But expect those snaps to slowly ramp up as the year continues … or if the losses pile up.