Detroit Lions need to embrace Swift, Okwara, and future now

D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
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Detroit Lions remedies

Swift Season

Adrian Peterson looked spry in his Detroit Lions debut in Week 1 but by Week 4 he was not the same player. His yards-per-carry average has gone from 6.64 yards to 3.27 yards as his usage has increased. What that suggests is that his touches should not exceed about ten per game, all statistics are from the Pro Football Reference website unless specifically noted.

Kerryon Johnson has broken off a couple of nice runs but his best work has been as a blocker. Johnson hasn’t seen the ball more than eight times in any ball game and is averaging 3.4 yards-per-carry. Officially, he has 71 yards and one touchdown on twenty-one carries.

The Lions used a second-round pick on D’Andre Swift because they believed that he is a complete back. He was rated as the best receiver in his class, he is a willing blocker and excellent runner with good balance, speed, and power. At 5-foot-8 and change, he’s built thick at 212 pounds.

Offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, was the person who made the call on drafting Swift. While Bevell’s connection to Peterson from their time with the Minnesota Vikings is likely the biggest factor in Peterson’s arrival in Detroit if Bevell wants to keep his job he’s going to have to showcase his rookie and find ways to use his range of considerable talents.

Swift has touched the ball 25 times to date, with 13 being on receptions. He has 166 yards combined, 124 through the air, and two total scores. His 3.5 yards-per-carry average is not great but he also hasn’t been given many opportunities in any game. His greatest usage was on 5 carries and 5 receptions during Week 2.

All that we can hope is that Bevell has seen what the returns are if he tries to force the whole ground game through Peterson. Swift is the future and deserves to be featured as the primary ball-carrier for the majority of the remaining games with Kerryon Johnson and Peterson sprinkled in to keep him fresh. If it were up to us, you’ve got to give Swift at least 10-15 carries and 5-10 receptions every game.

Bring Peterson in for short-yardage plays and substitute Johnson in for a small set of plays, too. Ultimately, the offensive line has to do a better job of blocking for the runners for them to be more effective, as well. The injury to guard Joe Dahl and the relatively poor play of guard-tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has robbed the Lions of some of their interior strength.

Tyrell Crosby has done very well at right tackle, winning the job over Vaitai and solidifying that spot. Jonah Jackson, the rookie guard, has also performed well on the right side; he’s held on to his spot since day one of camp after being a third-round selection.