Running back D’Andre Swift caught eight passes, including a 43-yard touchdown, in Detroit's Week 1 loss to San Francisco, and he totaled 104 total yards from scrimmage.
There was some concern leading up to the regular season that Swift would be 100 percent ready to go after missing a good chunk of camp with a groin injury. Swift was listed on last week's practice report with the groin injury that had bothered him all camp. He was a full participant in practice all of last week leading up to the 49ers game and wasn't limited at all in the game, playing 63 reps.
So it was a little worrisome to see Swift show up on Thursday's first practice report of the week as a limited participant with the groin injury.
But never fear Lions fans, there doesn't seem to be much to worry about, at least running back coach Duce Staley doesn't seemed concerned.
"No concern," Staley said Friday, when asked about Swift's status for Monday. "I don't think we're going to have to manage his reps. He's done a great job dealing with (the groin injury). Our training staff has done a great job getting him prepped and ready to play, so I don't think we'll have to manage him."
Running back Jamaal Williams was also limited Thursday with a chest injury, but again, Staley didn't seem too concerned about that either.
Detroit heads to Green Bay Monday night to face a Packers' defense that will be without talented edge defender Za'Darius Smith (back). The Packers are also coming off a 38-3 loss to New Orleans where the Saints rushed for 171 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry against them.
It started last season when Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson started paying close attention to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in practice, and how Sanu would show a defender something on a particular route and give him something different at the top to help form some separation.
Hockenson and Sanu started talking about what defenses are looking out for and what a defensive back is thinking.
That has since become a full study for Hockenson, as he is trying to pull stuff from some of the best pass catchers in the league to implement into his game.
"In general I think a DB underplays what a tight end can do," Hockenson said Friday after practice. "When you're able to do things that a wideout can do, they're just not expecting it. That's a huge component, just trying to take things from a good wideout's game."
Hockenson has been watching Calvin Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams to try and implement components of their game into his.
"I think that's something that I've started to get more into the last couple years," he said.
It certainly seems to be working. Hockenson led the Lions with eight receptions for 97 yards (12.1 average) and a touchdown Week 1.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
A video of rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown delivering a couple vicious chip blocks to unsuspecting 49ers defenders made the rounds on social media this week.
St. Brown earned a reputation of being a physical player in college, and it's something Lions general manager Brad Holmes talked about after drafting St. Brown. He established that pretty early in training camp with the Lions, too. St. Brown isn't afraid to be physical, whether it's chipping a defensive lineman or blocking a cornerback out in space.
"I've always kind of had that mentality, that blocking mentality in me," St. Brown said this week.
A former running back, St. Brown knows that to get big runs, receivers have to do their job blocking in the second and third levels of the defense.
"I think being a running back and having a receiver that doesn't block is one of the worst feelings ever," he said. "You're breaking two tackles and corner tackles. So for me, it's just making sure my guy doesn't make the tackle and blocking hard every day."
St. Brown said he tries to model his game after Hines Ward, one of the most physical receivers to ever play the game. The Lions like the fact that St. Brown will do the dirty work in the run game, and they were a good running team Week 1 because of it.