Swift & Williams forming one-two punch in Lions backfield

Jamaal Williams likes the role he is expected to play in sharing time at running back with D’Andre Swift in the Detroit Lions' offense.

He especially likes likes the possibility of an expanded workload.

"It's a one-two punch," head coach Dan Campbell said Friday. "We're going to use those guys – both of those guys, and they know that."

They know that although Swift is the lead back in his second year with the Lions, the hot hand will get the ball.

"A guy gets rolling ... Jamaal's rolling ... Jamaal's going to be rolling," Campbell said. "We'll use Swift for some of the other things.

"It's a good problem to have."

Williams reacted enthusiastically when told after practice of Campbell's comments and the plan for the running backs.

"Oh yeah," he said. "If you're going, you go. If I'm moving the ball, don't take me out. That's all I'm saying."

Campbell referred to the success the Saints had with running back tandems during his tenure as assistant head coach. It started with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara and more recently featured Kamara and Latavius Murray.

The similarity for the Lions in terms of makeup is the multiple running-receiving skills Swift displayed as a rookie in 2020 and the consistent running ability that was Williams' strength in four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Putting the two together produces the one-two punch.

"That's my vision of this one-two punch," Campbell said. "That's how I see Jamaal Williams with us. To know that he has high energy. He's a bit of a hammer.

"He's a guy you can feed off a little bit."

Williams rushed for 1,985 yards in the regular season in his four years with the Packers. That's an average of 496 yards per season.

Williams was known with the Packers for his energy and upbeat personality. That has carried over in his interactions with his new teammates in Detroit – and even in his dealings with the media.

He has his low moments, but they disappear when he's on the practice field.

"Talk to the trainers – they see me in the morning like this," he said, making a grouchy face. "It takes a minute to get all this going. I know I have to bring the energy to my team. If I feel anybody is low and not feeling too good ... that's when I come in and bring the energy for practice.

"I'm grateful to have teammates who do the same for me."

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Thursday July 29, 2021.

The Lions are at a different stage of development than the Packers teams he played on. After missing the playoffs his first two seasons in Green Bay, the Packers made it to the playoffs and lost in the NFC Championship game the last two years.

The Lions are in a rebuilding stage. Predictions that the Lions are playoff outsiders doesn't bother Williams.

"I feel like everybody here is fresh," he said. "We don't know anything about the past. Everything is new to us.

"Underestimate us. That's what we want. Whatever you know from the past, keep that.

"We're coming out with something new."

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