Next time he breaks free, expect Lions' D'Andre Swift to keep his foot on the gas
In the brightest moment of his rookie season, D'Andre Swift managed to learn an important lesson: Trust your speed.
Entering the game late in the first quarter, Swift took his first handoff and shot through a sizable hole to the right. With no one in the second level of the defense to fill the lane, it was off to the races.
And Swift lived up to his name, clocking in at 20.7 miles per hour once he got up to top speed. But in his peripheral, he caught Jacksonville safety Jarrod Wilson — who University of Michigan fans might remember — with an angle to potentially make a play.
Instead of trusting himself, Swift slowed down and tried to spin past Wilson, only to get wrapped up and dropped by the 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety after a 54-yard gain.
"It's one of those things we're talking about, coming out with some confidence," running backs coach Kyle Caskey said. "He hasn't broken a run in the NFL, so it's one of those things that the guys are fast, but he has to realize too, listen, you're one of the fast guys too. I think now he understands that. Sometimes it takes a learning experience with something like that so the next time it will hopefully be different."
It might seem strange to think six weeks into the season Swift might still be a little rusty, but there's some truth to that. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he had anything but a typical offseason, and further lost out on the limited practice time he would have had because of a hip injury he suffered in training camp.
Fortunately, Swift hasn't missed a game, but his playing time has been somewhat sporadic. All those factors combined, it played a role in his decision to try to juke, instead of jet past the last layer of defense against the Jaguars.
"That's where my thinking came into it," Swift said. "I think that was my first carry, first play I was in. Breaking it like that, a lot of things were going through my head while the run was going on. Like I said, just got to improve on that so next time I get in that position, I'm not thinking at all."
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The next time, don't expect the rookie runner to put his foot anywhere near the brake.
"Just go, just run," Caskey said. "You know? Don't second-guess yourself. You've got God-given ability and speed, so use it."