Lions Should Stay the Course With Approach to Solid Rushing Attack

Justin Jackson

Getty Justin Jackson runs away from a Bears defender in 2022.

The Detroit Lions have managed to get a big season for their once underrated rushing attack, and while many are calling for change already, things are actually trending in a perfect direction for the team.

The Lions have been easing D’Andre Swift back to health, and as they’ve done so, they’ve limited Swift’s overall amount of touches. Still, the running back has remained dangerous and produced in the well-leveraged situations when he has gotten the football.

Swift wondered aloud a few weeks back if the Lions might decide to use him more. Others have started to wonder about what the team might do given the emergence of Williams. As he continues to come back off injury, however, the Lions have made the right move not to force Swift’s usage on the field whatsoever. He’s been a weapon when he has touched the ball either with the pass or run, putting up two rushing scores and a receiving touchdown since coming back.

The Lions will certainly have a choice to make on Swift for the future, but the present looks just fine, including how the team is using their running back. While Swift might not be thrilled to miss out on getting fed the ball every carry, he’s also been far more effective when he has touched the ball given he is not injured or forced to come out of the game.

Swift is such a weapon that the ultimate show of respect for the Lions would actually be to continue to shadow him with others. It could make the team a formidable foe down the stretch considering how their diverse rushing attack can take over games.

Williams Taking Pounding for Lions

Having Williams around to take the pounding off Swift is big for the running back, and as a result, it is possible that the Lions’ MVP most of the season has been Williams.

The runner is an elite finisher near the goal line, and he’s shown that a ton this season with 12 scores, including three more in Week 11. Williams was the sledgehammer again with the scores and 64 yards rushing.

This game was a Williams special for Detroit. He simply was the tougher, more physical runner for the Lions. That’s been the case for him much of the 2022 season. His scores have all been vital for the Lions, as has the gritty role he has played in allowing Swift not to have to be used as a straight line runner too much.

After the game, he continued to impress with a very humble approach, which will always be something that is a special hallmark for Williams as he continues to play the rest of the 2022 season.

In terms of what he has done for Swift, there’s no question that Williams is even more the team’s MVP for his ability to be durable and strong in the backfield.

Justin Jackson a Valuable Piece for Lions

In addition to Williams, Detroit has seen the emergence of Justin Jackson for their backfield. The former undrafted free agent was a signing in training camp, and buoyed by some NFL experience, he has shown up strong for the Lions.

Jackson may have only 126 rushing yards to his credit on the season to go with 29 receiving yards and one touchdown, but he has been a capable slasher to help buy the team some time with Swift. Additionally, he has given the team some great reps as a kick returner, and has been a pleasant surprise.

With Jackson, Williams and Swift, the Lions seem to have the makings of something that is working right now. Mixing it up would be a mistake for Detroit, so their best action would likely be to stay the course with exactly what has worked so far for the team.

Jackson has contributed a lot to the team, and the Lions should be thrilled they have a true three-headed monster at running back. That’s perhaps the biggest reason they don’t need to change things up right now or make a rash decision on Swift’s future.

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