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NOTEBOOK: Johnson welcomes additions to Lions' backfield

Kerryon Johnson doesn't mind that the Lions signed veteran running back Adrian Peterson as a free agent earlier this week, or that the team drafted D’Andre Swift with a second-round pick this offseason to join him in the backfield.

Johnson said Peterson and Swift can help this football team win games, and all Johnson really cares about is winning more football games than he has in Detroit his first two seasons.

"I knew D'Andre was a good back and I knew I needed help," Johnson said Wednesday via Zoom. "I know that we want the most amount of good people on our team, (which) means the other team doesn't have them.

"So, if you come to me and ask me, 'Hey, we're going to sign Adrian Peterson.' Like of course, sign him. Bring him on board. This man has won games by himself. He continues to win games by himself. He can help us win games, and that's all I want to do."

Johnson said he's not worried about what the additions of Peterson and Swift might mean for his carries. That's something out of his control, and Johnson is focused on trying to control the things he can control.

He said having more fun playing the game, and just letting loose and not worrying about injuries or anything else, are two of the big areas of focus for him.  

Johnson has been good when on the field for the Lions over the course of his first two seasons. He's a dual-threat back with elusiveness and power. He's averaged 4.5 yards per carry over his first two years, but injuries have limited him to 18 games over that span.

"I know if I play every game this year, the end part will show what I think it'll show," Johnson said. "For me, it's just going out there ... cutting loose and letting it go. If an injury happens, an injury happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm trying to have fun this year, more fun than I've had the last two years. I'm just trying to let loose and play and get back how I really enjoy playing the game of football."

The Lions plan to share carries in their backfield in an attempt to keep everyone fresh and propel this Lions rushing attack into respectability and consistency. Johnson is expected to play a key part in that, as long as he stays healthy.


Along with practice squads being increased to 16 players this season, teams are also allowed to protect four of those players from being signed by other teams each week.

For Week 1, the Lions protected quarterback David Blough, tight end Isaac Nauta, running back Jonathan Williams and cornerback Dee Virgin.

Blough makes sense being the team's third quarterback. So does Nauta, seeing as how the Lions' third tight end, Hunter Bryant, is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and did not take part in practice Wednesday. That leaves just two healthy tight ends on the 53-man roster.


There are a lot of question marks on what exactly September football in the NFL will look like with no offseason, no preseason and a condensed training camp. Teams weren't able to scout their opponents in the preseason and try to get a gauge on any adjustments teams have made to personnel groupings or how individual players may have developed over the offseason.

There are a lot of unknowns heading into this first week of the regular season. The teams that do the best job of in-game adjustments will have a clear advantage this weekend and through the early part of the season.

"Certainly, there's going to be a lot of unknowns in the game, we know that," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. "This is our first time getting out on the field with our team. Certainly gameday, as a coach, you're always alert for maybe things to go a little bit awry just in getting used to the players themselves on gameday.

"Some of these guys we haven't been around, some of the players haven't been around us as coaches on gameday. So, trying to make sure that you do a good combination of mixing in really good game-plan stuff along with making sure that you do the basics really well, and just being ready to adjust. I think that will be the biggest thing in the game for both teams, being able to adjust what may be new or what may be different."

View photos of the starters for the Chicago Bears.


It was a long first practice report for the Lions on Wednesday, as they began their work week on the field.

Bryant (Hamstring) and safety C.J. Moore (hamstring) did not practice.

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), wide receiver Danny Amendola (hamstring), defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand (groin), defensive end Julian Okwara (knee), cornerback Darryl Roberts (groin), running back D'Andre Swift (hip) and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) were all limited.

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