After the third best running back rushing performance in the NFL Week 1, Lions third-year running back D’Andre Swift has been dealing with an ankle injury that prevented him from practicing Wednesday and Thursday.
Swift was back at the open portion of practice on Friday, however, which is a good sign he's trending in the right direction. He's officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Swift rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown in Detroit's 38-35 loss to Philadelphia Week 1. He also caught all three of his targets for 31 more yards.
"I think he's doing a great job managing it," Lions assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley said of Swift Friday. "You know going into the next game, if you've got something that's lingering, you know how to take care of it, and he does. And that's where he's gotten better, so I have all confidence in him."
The Lions as a team rushed 28 times for 181 yards last week against a good Eagles' defense. It was the first time the team rushed at least 25 times and scored three rushing touchdowns while maintaining at least a 6.5 yard average per rush since 1998.
Detroit's facing a Washington Commanders' defense this week at Ford Field that ranks 20th in the league against the run after Week 1, allowing 123 yards to the Jaguars.
Having Swift ready for an encore performance would be big for the Lions' offense.
The Lions suffered a number of injuries over the last couple weeks during practice, which has head coach Dan Campbell evaluating how his team approaches practice.
"It's a good question because you can't help but at least look at it and say, 'Alright, are we doing something? Do we need to do something different? Is there something that we're not doing right?'" Campbell said.
"And we're looking at everything and there's nothing that I can think of right now that says we did something that we shouldn't have been doing. We'll turn over every stone and if we feel like it's something that I need to change or adjust I'll certainly do that.
"I can't say that there's anything right now that we've done any different. We're smart with how we train. I feel like we're really good in that area. But certainly, these are popping up."
Last year, left tackle Taylor Decker suffered a hand injury in a non-padded practice the week before the regular-season opener that forced him out of the first eight games of the season.
PASS RUSH HELP
The Detroit Lions are getting some pass rush help back in the lineup this week. Veteran linebacker Julian Okwara was back at practice as a full participant this week after dealing with a hamstring injury the last month.
It's unclear how many snaps Okwara could see Sunday after missing so much time, but the expectation is that he'll at least see some pass-rush situations.
"Whatever coach wants me to do, I'll do it," Okwara said this week. "I'm just happy to be back on the field."
Okwara finished last season with 27 tackles (18 solo), six tackles for loss, five sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The Lions could use more impact like that on their defense this week vs. Washington.
"We're looking forward to seeing him get out there and move around," Campbell said of Okwara Friday. "It was – I think we're going to try and get him going a little bit this week."
Staley's running back room and wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El's room don't mind sharing a little film with each other when it comes to bragging about blocking abilities.
There were a number of examples Week 1 where Lions receivers made key blocks to spring big runs by the running backs, including Amon-Ra St. Brown's block on Swift's 50-yard run, and DJ Chark's block on Swift's 7-yard touchdown.
"They get excited to see Saint (St. Brown) and those guys out there – Josh (Reynolds), Chark – those guys out there fighting, moving their feet and finishing," Staley said Friday. "It's one thing to go up there and hit somebody and get in the way, but it's another thing to try and finish a guy. When I get a chance, I show (our running backs) the film. I show them the film of those guys blocking."
Staley said conversely, Randle El will show his receivers the film of the running backs picking up the blitz.