49ers Opponent No. 1: Running Back D’Andre Swift
While the Lions are lacking talent in a lot of different areas, their offensive line should actually be regarded as a quality unit, and Detroit’s offseason efforts to revamp this group, highlighted by using a first-round draft pick on offensive tackle Penei Sewell, was just the latest in a strong series of moves here.
Still, the 49ers’ defensive game plan should call upon two things: stopping T.J. Hockenson and stopping running back D’Andre Swift.
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One of the things that made Jared Goff modestly successful during his time in Los Angeles was the frequency of play-action passes he was able to execute. It’s likely this will again be Goff’s approach with the Lions, and that’ll put plenty of pressure on Swift to get Detroit’s ground game on the move.
Swift, who had 521 rush yards on 114 carries along with 357 receiving yards and 10 combined touchdowns his rookie season, is expected to make a sizable leap in year two of his pro career, and it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Goff look to his direction a lot.
Both on the ground and through the air.
Fortunately, the lack of other Lions offensive weapons likely means the Niners can crowd the box with what’s looking to be a swarming defensive line.
If that’s successful enough, Swift could be negated and Goff will have to rely on his not-so-potent non-play-action passing abilities.