The Detroit Lions still have interest in bringing in veteran running back Todd Gurley to add to their current mix of backs that include D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, Jermar Jefferson, Dedrick Mills and Mike Warren.
Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Thursday he believes in the hot-hand approach to carries in the backfield, and with Gurley potentially joining the mix, there could be plenty of hands looking for touches.
But Lynn also said his offense will be about putting the ball in the best playmakers' hands, and in the case of the running backs, that won't always mean just handing off the football.
View photos from the sixth day of OTAs on Friday, June 5th.
Detroit's backs could be a big part of the passing game too, and we're seeing that early on in OTAs, especially when it comes to Swift.
Some of the biggest plays in 7-on-7 periods in the two open in OTA practices so far have come from Swift.
Last week, he outran linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin on a crossing route, and quarterback Jared Goff hit him perfectly in stride. Swift ran down the right sideline for a big gain.
This week, Swift made a terrific grab across the middle in 7-on-7s after cutting behind a dropping Trey Flowers and then splitting the safeties for a score. Later in practice, Swift made a nasty cut to get by linebacker Alex Anzalone on an option route over the middle to make a grab for another big gain. It was such a filthy cut by Swift that the offense started chirping at the defense, including running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley.
"He has natural hands," Lynn said of Swift. "He's learning coverage and how to read coverages and sit in zones and run through lanes and things like that. He's doing good. We can use him in a plethora of ways, in my opinion. I like his skillset so far."
Swift caught 46 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns last season. That was on top of averaging 4.6 yards per carry and rushing for eight more scores. Swift said this offseason he could be a 75-plus-catch player out the backfield, if given the opportunity.
He's been getting a ton of opportunities to make plays in the passing game this offseason. He and Goff seem to be building quite a rapport early on. Swift is showing he can be a matchup weapon in the passing game, especially against linebackers.
"I'm about touches and how can I get guys touches," Lynn said. "Whether it's throwing it to them, quick passes, or handing it off to them, both of those guys (Swift and Williams) have done an outstanding job of showing me what they can do in the running game and in the passing game so far."