In two days, Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift has found a certain level of comfort on the practice field which isn’t easy for a rookie.
Certainly the second-round draft pick has plenty to work on and improve.
“Just getting everything down as far as the playbook, different terminology, quarterbacks speak faster, signals come quicker, just taking my studying habits and taking my knowledge of the game to the next level to make sure the coaches trust me,’’ Swift said on Tuesday in a Zoom call.
Coach Matt Patricia doesn’t like to talk starters or where a rookie might fit on a depth chart. It’s too early for that.
Still when Patricia was asked on Tuesday if Swift has a chance to start, he nodded in the affirmative. So far he likes what he sees from the back who played college ball at Georgia, Matthew Stafford’s alma mater.
“For me, for Swift obviously I think he’s got a great skill set of what we saw in college. We’re exploring the different things he can do certainly at our level and to do it consistently is a big thing for us right now,’’ Patricia said on a Zoom call late Tuesday afternoon.
To translate: Swift has turned a few heads as a pass catcher early in camp.
“I think some of the different reads in the run game right now we’re trying to get improved for him and his eye control and some of those scenarios,’’ Patricia said. “We do know that he’s a smart guy and he can handle a lot, not only in the run game but the pass protection and being able to get the blitz pickups and some of the technique there. Some of the linebackers at this level are maybe bigger than they were in college and some of those guys going through there, so the technique is really important for us to make sure we have that pocket protected.’’
Patricia said he wants to build on things Swift can do in the passing game.
“Not that it’s small steps, but we try to make sure we build it in the proper manner. So far he’s done an outstanding job of handling all that,” Patricia said. “And then certainly as we get towards more and more live contact in the running back position and being able to have really good contact balance, things like we saw in college, being able to break some of those tackles. The more of those scenarios that we can get into and see and have that confidence in certainly that will help him along the way.’’
Swift said when he played 7-on-7 football as a kid, he discovered his ability to catch the ball.
The Bulldogs didn’t exploit that part of his game. In three seasons he had just 20 catches, but five of them were for touchdowns.
“It’s something I want to definitely perfect at this level of football just being used in different amounts of ways,’’ Swift said.
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)