Lions RB coach Duce Staley reveals challenge he issued to D’Andre Swift

Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images /

D’Andre Swift has missed a chunk of games in each of his first two NFL seasons, and to that end Lions running backs coach Duce Staley has issued a bit of a challenge.

The 2021 season will go down has a “what might have been” element for Lions running back D’Andre Swift. In 13 games, or 10 with significant action to be honest, he put up more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage with 62 receptions.

Signs of Swift’s potential can be seen from all angles. The final hurdles to his reaching his potential in his third season are refining his game as a pure runner and staying on the field. Remember he was a second-round pick in 2020, so he got a four-year rookie contract and 2022 is a big year for him.

Swift looks noticeably more muscular at Lions’ OTAs, surely in an effort to be stronger and more durable.

Duce Staley reveals challenge he issued to D’Andre Swift

Lions’ coaches got some podium run from OTAs on Thursday. Running backs coach Duce Staley was among them, and he revealed what he has talked to Swift and all of the Lions’ running backs about. But the particular challenge to Swift surely stands out.

Staley did qualify his challenge with a comment that he doesn’t know if Swift could have played through his injuries last year.

The truth is Swift appeared on the injury report pretty regularly for a time in 2021, with a groin injury that dated back to the preseason. But he ultimately played every game before what was deemed a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder sidelined him for four full games.

Swift missed three games during his rookie season, due to a concussion and then an illness. It’s hard to say he should have played with a head injury, not that Staley necessarily suggested he should have.

Swift seemed to play through a “minor bump and bruise” last season, before he literally had a structural injury to his shoulder and didn’t play. So the core of Staley’s challenge to Swift to
“fight through some things” is iffy on review, as if the Lions’ running backs coach thought it wouldn’t or couldn’t be scrutinized (or almost dismissed).

But the broader idea Swift has to better stay healthy in 2022 stands as a right one. Not that a reminder was all that necessary from anyone, even as June OTA fodder.

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