Dan Campbell envisions Saints-like production for Detroit Lions RBs Swift, Williams

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Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell shed more light on his team's emerging running back tandem Friday, saying he envisions D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams being a 1-2 punch, similiar to Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram were for the New Orleans Saints years ago.

"That’s my vision of this 1-2 punch," Campbell said. "That’s how I see Jamaal Williams for us, for Detroit. He’s high energy, he’s a bit of a hammer and I think he’s a guy your team can feed off of a little bit. I said that when we signed him. That was always what Mark was for (the Saints) and Latavius Murray when Mark left us. That’s what Jamaal is.”

The Saints have finished in the top six of the NFL in rushing three of the past four seasons, since taking Kamara in the third round of the 2017 draft.

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Detroit Lions running backs D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams on the field during minicamp practice Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at  then Allen Park practice facility in Detroit.
Detroit Lions running backs D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams on the field during minicamp practice Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at then Allen Park practice facility in Detroit.

Kamara and Ingram played complementary roles their two seasons together, rushing for more than 1,500 combined yards each year.

When Ingram left in free agency in 2019, the Saints signed Murray to be their 1-B back behind Kamara.

Swift, in his second NFL season, is expected to start for the Lions this fall, but the team made Williams its top free agent signing — and the only free agent it gave a multiyear deal to — in hopes of bolstering its running game.

"We’re going to use both of those guys, they know that," Campbell said. "A guy gets a hot hand, he’s rolling. If Jamaal is in there, we’re rolling. Jamaal is going to be rolling and we’ll use Swift for other things. Which is fine. That’s a good problem to have. I’m glad we got him, I know that.”

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Williams is considered one of the best blocking running backs in the NFL and could have primary third-down duties for the Lions this fall. Swift averaged 4.6 yards per carry as a rookie, is electric in the open field and should be a significant factor in the passing game.

Williams, who averaged 496 yards rushing the past four seasons as the No. 2 running back behind Aaron Jones with the Green Bay Packers, embraced Campbell's comparison Friday, saying the tandem can be "great."

"He the little swifty. It’s in his name, Swifty," Williams said. "I’ll say I’m more like a swag swifty, say it like that. Swaggy. So he run like a swifty, I run like a swaggy. That’s the best I can explain it at the moment. You're just going to have to watch."

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: What to expect from Detroit Lions RBs in fantasy football

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