Skip to main content

NOTEBOOK: Swift looking to build on first 100-yard rushing performance

Running back D’Andre Swift threw his jersey in the laundry pile after last week's win over Jacksonville, not really thinking anything of it.

That's when veteran running back Adrian Peterson stepped in and told the rookie running back that when you record the first 100-yard rushing performance of your career, which Swift did last week with 116 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries, that jersey has to be kept and hung up.

Swift said this week that the jersey will be hung up in his house. He likes the fact that he took it back before it got cleaned, and there's still some dirt on it.

The Lions are hoping last week was the first in what will be many more 100-yard performances for their second-round draft pick this year.

Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey said Friday a performance like the one Swift had last week is important for a young back.

"I think like anybody else, you need a little bit of assurance that, 'oh, I can do this at this level.' They all think they can, but I think the fact that he did it he now knows," Caskey said. "It's a confidence that he has now that, 'OK, you know what, I did this.' He can go forward with that confidence."

Caskey said everything is starting to slow down for Swift, and that's when any young player can start to settle in and get into a groove. Caskey said Swift is now at the point where everything has started to mesh into a comfortable language, and it's allowed him to play faster.

There was no offseason training program for Swift, and he missed a large portion of training camp due to a hip injury, so it's only natural that this progression would take a little time.

"It was good being out there and being a little more comfortable with the offense," Swift said Friday. "Just playing a lot more, so I got a little more comfortable with everything.

"Just have to stay focused and be consistent, that's the main thing going into this week and just try to improve on what I did last week. Definitely can be better in certain areas, so just have to improve."

Swift is heading back to the state of Georgia Sunday, where he played his college ball, to play the Falcons. He said he'll have family in the building. It will also be nice seeing Falcons running back Todd Gurley, who also went to Georgia, and who Swift called a big brother.

Atlanta has a top five run defense this season, so it won't be easy for Swift and Detroit's other backs this week, but the Lions are hoping Swift can continue on his upward trend and continue to build off last week's 100-yard performance.


Reserve tackle Matt Nelson was pressed into duty last week for the Lions, playing 46 snaps in Detroit's 34-16 win over Jacksonville.

It's been a crazy year and a half for Nelson, a defensive lineman at Iowa the Lions converted to offensive tackle last spring after signing him as an undrafted free agent. Nelson had offers from other teams to continue playing defensive line in the NFL, but he liked the plan the Lions laid out for his move to offense, and the fact that Detroit was committed to investing in the transition.

"Essentially it was like, 'OK, this is my best opportunity to keep playing football for a long time,'" the 6-foot-8 Nelson said Thursday. "And after talking with family, my agent and everything like that, it was like, 'OK, they've got a plan for you. They're really willing to invest in you. I think we should do it.' And I think it's worked out great so far."

Nelson has spent the last year packing on weight and muscle to the tune of 15 pounds. He not the first player to switch sides coming into the NFL, but Nelson has really been dedicated to the switch. It's turned out to be a good situation for both him and the Lions so far.


The Falcons' offense gets the majority of the headlines because of players like quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running back Todd Gurley, but Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett has caught the attention of Lions head coach Matt Patricia and the offensive players and coaches this week for his ability to wreck a game plan upfront.

Jarrett is a versatile player for the Falcons, and the Lions will be very aware of where he is on the field at all times Sunday.

"Grady Jarrett is unbelievable," Patricia said this week. "This guy – I think he's just really come along and has just exploded out on the scene. I was just going through all the plays (Wednesday) night of what he does on the field and how impactful he is in all the situations – he has a tremendous mix of power, explosion, speed and just great instincts."

Jarrett is third in the NFL among defensive linemen this season with 22 pressures, a lot of that coming from the interior.

"I think that Atlanta has done a phenomenal job of using some of their stunts and movements with him," Patricia said. "I think that's where he's really thrived. He does have power and strength and (can) move the line of scrimmage back."

Related Content