Matt Patricia Offers Telling Hint on How Lions’ Run Game Will Operate

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia coaching against the Giants.

The Detroit Lions have a cast of running backs set to make a huge impact in 2020, but the only question now is how they will be used.

Details on that have been scant even during training camp, but a new interview by Matt Patricia shed perhaps a tiny bit of light on the subject recently. As Patricia told Gil Brandt and SiriusXM NFL Radio, he wants to get everybody in the mix as much as possible thanks to the fact that they can all help the offense thrive this year.

Patricia said to Brandt:

“I’m kind of one of those guys who really likes to use all the running backs. I think it puts a lot of pressure on the defense if you put multiple running backs in the game at the same time certainly, which is some trends in the league right now. From that standpoint, we’re going to try and get those guys all in a position to be able to make plays. They can help us all in different ways and that’s good because again, from a defensive perspective, it’s hard when you have to recognize which running back is in the game. Kerryon (Johnson) has done a great job. Bo Scarbrough was with us last year. Certainly with (D’Andre) Swift in the mix and Ty Johnson from last year, we’re excited about all of ’em.”

This quote points to the fact that the Lions want to get multiple players on the field, and that everyone will be in the mix to make big plays at different times. For the offense and its health, that’s great news. For fantasy football players, it might only cause more confusion as it relates to who will be the lead dog in any particular game.

Lions fans shouldn’t care one bit, though. Winning is the top objective of the team, and if this group of runners collectively gives the Lions a good chance to win and grind out yards, that’s good news for the team as a whole.

Theoretically, Detroit’s ground game should be improved in a big way this season. If that’s the case, the Lions will be better for it as a team, no matter who is generating more of the carry love on a given week.

D’Andre Swift Impressing Lions Early

Swift hasn’t been in pads for the Lions long, but already he’s begun to open some eyes around training camp. In drills, Swift has been getting fed the ball as a receiver to show off his skills. That’s been easy for him to do, and he’s caught the attention of the assembled media in the process.

As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press aptly put it while watching a practice, Swift is going to be a problem in the NFL in terms of his pass catching out of the backfield.

The Athletic’s Chris Burke took it a step further with his analysis, saying Swift was eating up linebackers in the pass catching drills.

In college, Swift was more than a capable receiver, racking up 666 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns during his career. If Swift can be a receiving threat out of the backfield, it might allow the Lions to feature multiple back sets and work both he and Kerryon Johnson on the field at the same time. It might also allow the team to be more deceptive in their looks on the field and in turn break more big plays.

Regardless, Swift has certainly been as advertised early on in terms of what he can do. It’s certainly a shame there will be no preseason games to watch him perform and show his stuff against the opposition. For now, fans can only wait for September and the start of the season.

This year, Swift might prove to be well worth that wait when all is said and done.

Lions Running Back Situation

Detroit has a solid player on their team currently in Kerryon Johnson that they are developing. Johnson, however, has run into a few issues with injuries the last few years, so the team was looking for someone else that can be a solid running mate for Johnson moving forward. On the roster, Bo Scarbrough showed late last season that he could be a potential answer for the team in addition to Ty Johnson, but still, the Lions were looking for someone else to build around. That’s why they felt as if they may want to target the draft, which is where D’Andre Swift came in along with Jason Huntley later. Looking at the group, the team seems to have some quality youth and depth in the mix for the first time in years.

Now that the Lions have managed to add another running back and some pounding offensive linemen, the team is seemingly on the right track toward fixing one of their biggest problems historically, and are deep at the position.

That might count for plenty during the 2020 season.

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