Matt Patricia and the Lions delivered some gloomy news on Friday regarding the status of lead running back D’Andre Swift.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the team believes it will be “difficult” to see the rookie ballcarrier play on Sunday against the Panthers. The news comes after Detroit diagnosed Swift with a concussion earlier this week. The first-year running back practiced on Wednesday, but entered the league’s protocol shortly after.
Swift has been a revelation for the Lions in 2020. After spending much of the early season in a pass-catching role, the former Georgia Bulldog broke out in Detroit’s week 6 game against the Jaguars. In the match-up against Jacksonville he carried the ball 14 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. Since that performance, he’s earned starting role in the backfield alongside quarterback Matthew Stafford.
In 2020, the second-round rookie has 70 carries for 331 yards and 31 catches for 275 yards. He’s scored six total touchdowns in nine games.
"Difficult" to see D'Andre Swift playing on Sunday https://t.co/JYBBK2JgLH
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 20, 2020
If Swift is unable to go, the Lions will be left with veteran Adrian Peterson and third-year back Kerryon Johnson.
Peterson, now 35, assumed the starting role at the beginning of the 2020 campaign. Despite starting off the season well, the former four-time All-Pro began to taper off. In the team’s nine games this year, Peterson has 97 carries for 371 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnson’s role seems to be a bit more confusing. After a strong rookie year in 2018, where he averaged over five yards per carry, the Lions running back struggled in 2019. As Detroit drafted Swift and acquired Peterson it looked like Johnson’s playing time would greatly decrease. His role has taken a dive this season as he has just 30 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown in 2020.
With or without Swift, Sunday’s game against Carolina will be pivotal for the Lions’ postseason hopes. At just 4-5, Detroit finds themselves on the outside looking in, but a fairly weak schedule to close out the season bodes well for Stafford and Patricia.
The Lions play the Panthers at 1 p.m on Sunday.