Swift, who said he injured his ankle in Week 1 against the Eagles, was able to play through the injury for two weeks before it finally caught up with him in Week 3 against the Vikings. Swift would miss the next two games, and coming out of a Week 6 bye, was expected to return to action. While he did practice all week in limited fashion, Lions coaches have been cautious about saying he is ready to play.
Here’s coach Dan Campbell on Friday:
“We’ll see, but he’s done a little bit more every day, and (we’ll) see how he is and where he’s at today, and then we’ll take it from there.”
Assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley on Swift’s potential workload:
“Yeah, just taking it one day at a time. That’s where we are now with him and each day he has made progress. So, I will say that. And every day we’ll continue to check, the doctors and everything will continue to check and I talk with him. So, he’s making progress and once we get to that point, that’s something that (Offensive Coordinator) Ben (Johnson) and myself make sure that we’re on top is balancing those guys out and we will.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport used softer language in his Sunday morning report, but the bottom line remains the same, “there is real doubt that he’ll play today.”
Swift has been the Lions’ biggest offensive weapon thus far this year. He’s averaging a whopping 8.6 yards per carry, earning 231 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 27 carries. He has also added 77 yards and a touchdown through the air.
The Lions will once again turn to Jamaal Williams to carry the load but expect Craig Reynolds and Justin Jackson to be sprinkled in for a change of pace. Even with last week off, Williams is still second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (6) and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
“It doesn’t matter who’s down, who’s up,” Lions running back coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley said. “As a group we take pride in that, we take pride and just going out there doing our job and making plays. And Jamaal’s been that guy since he’s gotten here. So, he works hard during practice, he dedicates himself in the meeting room. He helps others and just to see him go out there and have some success is good.”
Still, with Swift’s absence, wide receiver DJ Chark recently placed on injured reserve, and Josh Reynolds listed as questionable for Sunday, the Lions will once again be missing some of their most important offensive weapons.