Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson is choosing not to mince words on rookie teammate D’Andre Swift.
Often, that can be a bad thing. Peterson is an esteemed veteran and one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. If he has something to say, both Swift — a young running back from Georgia — and the Detroit Lions should listen.
Peterson didn’t have anything harsh on his mind that Swift or the Lions needed to hear. Just the opposite, in fact, as Peterson gave Swift a surprisingly sweet and heartwarming endorsement.
D’Andre Swift has had a solid rookie season
The 35th overall pick in April’s NFL draft, D’Andre Swift has had a mixed start to his NFL career.
At 5 feet 8 inches and 212 pounds, Swift has impressed at times with his elusiveness and vision. Swift only fumbled once in his first nine games, always a good feat for a young running back.
In those nine games, Swift ran for 331 yards and four touchdowns on 4.7 yards per carry. Swift also turned 31 catches into 275 yards and two touchdowns.
There could have been a third touchdown if Swift hadn’t dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown in Week 1.
Swift impressed in Week 10 against Washington
D’Andre Swift is only getting stronger as the season progresses, which is good news for a Detroit Lions team looking for any and all playmakers.
Swift especially impressed in a Week 10 victory against veteran quarterback Alex Smith and the Washington Football Team. Swift picked up 81 yards on 16 carries — a solid 5.06 yards per carry — and caught five passes for a career-high 68 yards.
Swift’s breakout game came in Week 6, when he ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns in a rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Detroit Lions should feel confident about D’Andre Swift’s future. Unfortunately for Detroit, Swift is out for Week 11 with a concussion.
Adrian Peterson gave D’Andre Swift a ringing endorsement
With D’Andre Swift injured, veteran running back Adrian Peterson will get his chance as Detroit’s lead back.
A seven-time Pro Bowler, Peterson has played fairly sparsely this year. Although Peterson drew the start in six of Detroit’s first nine games, he only averaged 10.8 attempts per game, which would be his fewest in a full season.
For the year, Peterson has 371 yards and two touchdowns on 3.8 yards per carry.
Detroit gave Swift the starting nod in Week 10 against Washington. According to ESPN, Peterson said he wasn’t at all offended or bothered when Detroit chose to give Swift more reps.
“It made sense to me. Actually, when I was told, I was like, ‘You guys should have did this two, three weeks ago, you know.”
That’s not to say Peterson is comfortably enjoying reduced carries, especially in a trying year.
“Of course I want to play,” Peterson said. “I’m a competitor.”
Considering where the 35-year-old Adrian Peterson stands among the all-time rushing leaders, there is something especially heartwarming about hearing him vouch for a rookie teammate. Peterson explicitly admitted the Lions should have given D’Andre Swift the starting role earlier this season.
Detroit needs a strong Week 11 performance from Peterson to stay in the playoff hunt. Despite an ugly start, Detroit is somehow 4-5 and still alive for one of the NFC’s three wild card berths.