Why Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift got a ton of carries against Jacksonville Jaguars

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
| Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Lions’ rookie running back D’Andre Swift got a lot of touches and he made the most of them in Sunday’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Swift had 14 carries for 116 yards, including one rush for 54 yards and two touchdown runs in a breakout performance that spurred the Lions’ 34-16 win.

That was by far the most workload Swift had running out of the backfield this season. His previous high was five carries for 12 yards in the Week 2 loss at Green Bay.

Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell explained how snaps are divided among Swift and fellow running backs Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson.

“Well, we go in with a plan and then as the game goes along, you have to have a feel for the game,” Bevell said in a conference call with reporters. “So Adrian goes in with the first bit of carries, but everybody has kind of a specific role or even specific plays.

“I’ll even call the personnel with a guy’s number on it and send that specific person in the game because that’s a play that we want that individual to get. So that’s kind of how we’re handling it with the running backs.”

Bevell also went further and outlined some of the roles in more detail, explaining that (Peterson has the past three games; Johnson started the first two).

“So Adrian gets the start and then from there we kind of have numbers all over the game plan for specific plays and it could be guys going in and out,” he said. “Also, it could be I guess, situational plays are probably the best way to describe it. You know, Kerryon is kind of our third-down guy. He’s our third-down runner. He’s our third-down protection back.

“There’s other situational parts of the game and then as you’re just watching it, you’re trying to get a feel for how it’s going and Swift was really running the ball well. He got some nice blocks upfront, was able to take advantage of them, particularly on the big, long run and then just kind of continue to ride it from there.”

Let’s rush two

The Atlanta Falcons won their first game of the season Sunday by beating the Minnesota Vikings, 40-23. And it’s no wonder. The Falcons boast an impressive offense that ranks fourth in yards and second in passing, thanks to outstanding receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin had a little fun with reporters Tuesday when he joked about his plan for covering Jones and Ridley on Sunday.

“I’d have to rush two,” he said, “and I know you guys would not like that if we rushed two and doubled all these guys. So we probably can’t do that.

“I mean, I don’t know if I have a coverage that can handle all these guys. But I would say it comes down to trying to be effective and make the quarterback, make Matt (Ryan) work here, pre-snap, post-snap, and do our best and mix it up on them and try to make it hard for him.”

The Lions’ defense hasn’t fared too poorly against the pass. They rank 15th in the category and they’ve only allowed two players to gain 100 receiving yards this season: Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins and Jacksonville’s Keelan Cole.

But Jones and Ridley represent the best receiving duo the Lions have faced this year (Michael Thomas was inactive for the Saints). Against the Vikings, Jones had 137 yards and two touchdowns and Ridley had 61 yards and a touchdown as part of Ryan’s 371-yard, four-touchdown day.

“We all know — it’s just going to be a tough cover for everybody on the field,” Undlin said. “We welcome that challenge. I look forward to watching these guys go out there. Obviously like it does every week, we’re going to have to go start on them Wednesday, tomorrow, with great meetings, great practice, great preparation. We’ll just take it one day at a time and put a plan together, and we’ll see what it looks like at the end of the week, and we’ll pick the things that we think will help us win.

“We have our hands full here for sure. I look forward to that and the players do, too. It’ll be a great challenge. We’ll go out there and give it everything we got, see what happens.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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