DETROIT -- D'Andre Swift has a lofty goal this season.
The versatile Detroit Lions running back is trying to become the fourth player in NFL history to record 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
Christian McCaffrey (2019), Marshall Faulk (1999) and Roger Craig (1985) are the only players to accomplish the feat so far. But Swift, a third-year back out of Georgia, thinks the goal is attainable, especially with running backs coach Duce Staley pushing him on. The quest starts Sunday when the Lions host the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox) at Ford Field.
The tough player-coach relationship between Swift and Staley has been spotlighted on HBO's "Hard Knocks." Swift says he listens to Staley's message -- not his tone -- because they believe in each other.
"It's a goal," Swift told ESPN. "Really, me and Duce just kind of have conversations like that. He is the one that said, 'You're the type of back that can get 1,000 and 1,000.' So, it really came from him. ... Duce believes that's the type of player I am, I can reach that goal at some point, so why not?"
Swift, 23, has battled injuries in his two NFL seasons but says this is the first training camp he's made it through fully healthy. The 2020 second-round pick was limited throughout 2021 training camp with groin pain and missed four games with a shoulder sprain during the season. However, after a tweak to his offseason training routine and careful management of his workload, Swift and the Lions feel good about his ability to stay on the field and chase his lofty goal.
"I think [Lions head coach] Dan [Campbell] has done a good job. As for us, just talking with Swift," Staley said. "I've done a good job communicating with him exactly how we're going to approach the year and managing his reps in training camp, and as soon as we get into the season now, it's go time ... and I think he's embraced it. I think he understands what we're doing, and he's all in."
THURSDAYS WERE THE only days off for Swift this summer.
His offseason training consisted of two workouts a day with performance trainer Mo Wells at House of Athlete in Austin, Texas. Morning training consisted of a speed session before hitting the weights. Twice a week, they would also work on football-related drills before an additional lifting session. Thursdays were used for recovery, sitting in the sauna and cold tub.
The focus of the workout routine was full body conditioning and strength in hopes of increasing his durability this season. At training camp, Campbell and his staff put a plan together to manage Swift carefully, giving him fewer reps during drills.
"Yeah, I feel like we've done a really good job because he's -- we haven't had any setbacks with Swift," said Campbell, who added that Swift joined camp in phenomenal shape. "He's been available when we've called upon him. And I feel like he's in a good place right now. So, I think the plan that we had, I think it's worked to this point."
Swift's 452 receiving yards last season were tied for fifth most among running backs. He ranked third among running backs in receiving yards after the catch, trailing only Austin Ekeler and Najee Harris. And he was one of two players last year to have a rushing and a receiving touchdown of 50-plus yards. The other was Indianapolis Colts star Jonathan Taylor.
But while his ceiling is high, he has appeared in only 26 career games in two seasons. Keeping him on the field for a full season is priority No. 1.
DETROIT HAS HIGH expectations for Swift and the offense if he can remain healthy, and plans to make him a focal point of what they do.
"For us, I mean he's an explosive playmaker, so each week it's, 'How can we get him the ball? How many different ways can we get him the ball?'" Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said. "So we'll always explore that, and then there'll be times, too, we'll use him as a little bit of eye candy and get the other guys the ball. But I mean, he's going to open up the rest of the weapons on this offense because we know anytime he gets the ball in his hands, he can make a good play great and score touchdowns."
Swift had three touchdowns of 40 or more yards last season, which was also tied with Taylor for most among running backs. As a former running back himself, Staley says Swift already has the repertoire to reach 1,000 yards rushing and receiving but knows it's Staley's job to help him deliver.
"Since Day 1, I came through the doors, I told him I’m going to get the best out of him. And I only know one way, and just being able to coach some of the guys that I've coached, from [former Eagles RB Darren Sproles] to [former Eagles RB LeSean] McCoy, [former Eagles RB] Ryan Mathews, nothing's changed," Staley said. "And my job as a coach is, No. 1, put him in the best position to make plays."
Staley often reminds Swift "adversity visits the strong, but stays forever with the weak." It is a quote that continues to stick with the Lions' running back, not only through football, but also life, as he works toward a breakout season.
"I've always taken constructive criticism from people that are older and have done it before, especially like Duce because he's seen it and done it all, so he knows what it takes," Swift said. "He's got Super Bowl rings, played 10 years in the league, all the accolades, so anything he's telling me, I'm not really letting it go in one ear and out the other, I'm just really trying to hone in what he's saying, listen to it and really apply it."