4 Detroit Lions who need a strong finish to the 2022 season the most
1. RB D’Andre Swift
All offseason, “if he can stay healthy” came as the prefix for any talk of Swift having a breakout season this year. He started off nicely, with a career-high 144 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. But he suffered an ankle injury in that game, and played through it in Week 2. He added a shoulder issue to the mix in Week 3, then missed the next three games with a bye week in the midst of that stretch.
Swift has continued to be somewhat limited by both injuries since returning to action, despite being off the injury report in recent weeks, as his snap share has clearly been managed. He has also appeared hesitant at times, and hesitant to run toward possible contact, leaving unrealized yardage on the field. At one point, the idea he should sit another game if he’s not healthy enough to play more and be himself seemed reasonable.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Swift could get “a little bit more” than the 24 snaps he played against the Bills on Thanksgiving on Sunday against the Jaguars. What exactly that looks like would be the question.
"I thought he did some good things for us,” Campbell explained. “I thought he brought us a little bit of life, and I feel like every week he’s starting to feel better and getting himself back into where he wants to be and where we want him to be. So, I anticipate him getting a little bit more this week.”"
Swift’s future in Detroit is set to start becoming a conversation. Next year is the final year of his rookie contract, since he was a second-round pick in 2020. Do the Lions extend him, even just a year or two at a reasonable rate, in the offseason? Do they consider trading him? Or do they let him play out next season, then let him leave unabated in 2024 free agency?
However it looks come the end of the season, with all those options on the table just as they are now, Swift’s health and performance over the final six games will be the driving force.