Matthew Stafford has gone nearly his entire 11-year career without a consistent running game. We’ve seen flashes in the past from guys like Reggie Bush and even Kerryon Johnson over the past couple years, but Detroit has never had that guy who can take some weight off Stafford’s shoulder when on offense.
This year, the Lions think they may finally have that weapon in former Georgia running back D’Andre Swift, who the team took with the 35th overall pick in the draft. It’s obviously incredibly early right now, but Swift has already impressed some reporters at training camp. And Stafford has come away pretty impressed, too—both with his work ethic and his pure talent.
“He’s a sponge right now, just trying to learn as much as he possibly can,” Stafford said on “Good Morning Football” Friday morning. “Obviously, when you hand him the football, you can see the talent. It’s there. You put him out wide and let him run some routes, you see the talent. It’s there.”
This offseason, Stafford went the extra mile to make sure Swift was ready coming into camp. He invited Swift, along with other teammates local to Georgia (Quintez Cephus, Isaac Nauta, Nick Bawden), to his offseason home down south for workouts and family time.
“We actually were working out when I was training in Georgia about a month or two ago,” Swift told reporters earlier this week. “Just been great ever since. Just making sure that I know what I’m doing out there. Met his wife, met his kids. So he’s just been welcoming me into his family, his life, so I appreciate him for that and our relationship’s been getting better, been growing every day.”
To Stafford, it was important to help these guys as much as he could, considering they had no OTAs, no minicamp, no offseason at all prior to training camp this month.
“They’ve been put in a tough spot this offseason not having the spring,” Stafford said. “They’re kind of just thrown into the fire. So during the offseason, I tried to get a few of them together and bring them to the house and just try to teach them and get them ready for the season. So far they’ve done a nice job.”