Detroit Lions running backs coach and assistant head coach is a guy who likes to see his players work with intensity and passion. It’s the way Staley thrived as an NFL running back for a decade.
Staley has been searching for a way to get more consistent production from Lions running back D’Andre Swift for months. Swift’s nagging injuries and his seeming inability to play well through them, or the RB’s durability issues when he is playing great, have been a long-running source of frustration for many in Lions land but especially Staley.
So when presented with the concept that Swift is “pissed off” about not getting many touches in the last couple of games, Staley was pleased to hear it.
Before we go any further, a point of clarification. Swift did not directly state to the media that he is “pissed off”, not on the record anyway. Staley was referring to comments earlier this week from Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who characterized Swift’s emotions that way.
Staley was quick to point that out when asked about Swift’s “pissed off” feelings.
“When you say frustrated, have you talked to him? So you take that as him being frustrated? Oh, Ben (Johnson) said he was pissed off,” Staley said.” You can tell I read your clips. Alright, I don’t know, and I will say this, if he is, tell him to take that same energy, that same juice and use it on the field. You tell him that.”
This is one of those instances where vocal tone and body language from the coach are integral to the message. This is straight from Friday’s press conference in Allen Park, the leadoff question to Staley:
Swift has been limited to just seven carries in the last two games as he returns from ankle and shoulder injuries that kept him out of several games.