Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey was admittedly a little hesitant watching rookie running back D’Andre Swift play early on against Green Bay last week after Swift missed the previous three games with concussion symptoms and an illness that was causing Swift to suffer severe headaches.
It wasn't until Swift caught a pass and took a big hit and Caskey saw Swift pop right up that Caskey knew Swift was fine.
Swift notched 50 yards on 11 touches in his first game back last Sunday in nearly a month, and Caskey said Wednesday that Swift has been "his normal self" this week. That's good news for a Lions team trying to get back in the win column Sunday against a 9-4 Tennessee Titans team ranked in the top 15 in the NFL defending the run.
"He hated being out of there," Caskey said this week of Swift. "He was doing everything he could to get back. I'm excited to have him back. You could see a little rust in this last game, but I think he shook it off pretty well."
The expectation with Swift moving forward, now that the rust of missing three games is off, is potentially getting him back to his pre-injury usage. He made his first start Week 10 against Washington – his last game before he started suffering the headaches – and rushed 16 times for 81 yards (5.1 average) and caught five passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
One of the things Caskey said he wants to see from Swift these last three games is being able to handle all the situational parts of the game, and seeing the big picture of the defense while continuing to play fast.
That happens with playing more reps and being in more of those situations.
"It's been a little rough," Swift said of the last month. "Just something that was new for me with the headaches and everything."
But Swift said he's good now and has no concerns moving forward.
"I was just so happy to be out there playing the game I love," Swift said of his return against the Packers Sunday. "I hate missing time for anything."
Swift said it's important to him now to put together a few good performances to end the season and go into his first offseason with some momentum.
"That would be big," he said. "What I'm trying to do is finish the season strong. It'll spring us into the offseason the right way."