The Detroit Lions annual Season Ticket Member Summit took place Monday night at Ford Field. New offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and new special teams coordinator John Bonamego were all available to take questions.
Here are 10 takeaways from that panel session:
1. Bevell doesn’t yet know what the Lions' offense is going to look like, because he says his offensive philosophy is always to build around the players he has and what they do well.
“Hopefully, it’s one that scores points,” Bevell said with a grin. “That’s the first thing we need to do. Right now it’s still something that we’re trying to build. It’s easy to say what we want to do in the run game and what we want to do in the pass game, but we need to build around our players.”
2. Pasqualoni said his defensive line really set the tempo on that side of the ball with Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson and Da’Shawn Hand. Those players upfront allowed other groups to play well around them. He also mentioned Jarrad Davis, Devon Kennard and Romeo Okwara as players in the front seven that really started to set the tone last season.
3. Bonamego has been really impressed with head coach Matt Patricia since returning to the Lions as special teams coordinator. Bonamego called Patricia “intensely competitive” and “meticulously organized.” He's also really impressed with the dialogue both he and GM Bob Quinn have in terms of how they see the roster developing and the very specific plan they have in place.
View photos from the 2019 Detroit Lions Season Ticket Members Summit at Ford Field on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.
4. Bevell did talk to Matthew Stafford on the phone after being hired as offensive coordinator, and one of the things he told Stafford is he planned to do some of the things Stafford’s been successful at in the past, but he also talked about stretching him a little bit, and maybe putting him in positions he hasn’t been in before in hopes of pushing the offense to new heights.
5. Bevell’s interview process with Quinn and Patricia lasted a day and a half in Orlando. Bevell was actually the first one to reach out to Patricia, according to him. Bevell said he could really relate to the specific plan Patricia and Quinn laid out to him in that meeting and what they wanted to get done.
“They know what the end looks like and we’re trying to make sure we put the pieces together to be able to get to the end,” Bevell said.
6. Bevell said it always starts with the quarterback for him when setting up his offense. He considers Stafford a good one. He’s also excited to work with running back Kerryon Johnson. They too spoke on the phone after his hiring, and Bevell was impressed with the plan Johnson has for himself this offseason to come back an even better player in 2019.
One thing Bevell is especially excited about seeing with Johnson is some of the things he’s heard Johnson could add to the passing game. Johnson caught 32 passes in only 10 games this past season.
View the best photos from the Detroit Lions' 2018 community events.
7. Pasqualoni talked about the back end of his defense and how well they played against some good quarterbacks vs. New England, Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams this past season. He likes the leadership he has there with Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay. He felt they really started to get a feel of what they wanted from the secondary in this defense and were able to cut down on the big plays allowed in the passing game, especially later in the year.
8. Bonamego said it’s great to already have a relationship with punter Sam Martin, kicker Matt Prater and long snapper Don Muhlbach, having worked with them all before. It makes it an easier transition coming in.
9. Bevell said there’s a huge laundry list of things he’s trying to do right now bringing in a new offense. One thing he’s finding very useful is sitting down with the position coaches and watching tape, with them talking him through each player and giving him a quick summary on what their strengths and weaknesses are, how they push them and what’s the best way to use them moving forward.
10. Pasqualoni said the goal for 2019 is to have one of the top defenses in the league. How does he define that? He said the two most important attributes of a great defense are limiting points and doing a good job giving the ball back to the offense with short fields.