A Closer Look: Darrell Bevell
Current job: Interim head coach/offensive coordinator for Detroit Lions
NFL job log: After a few years coaching in the college ranks at Westmar (1996), Iowa State (1997) and Connecticut (1998-99), Bevell got his first NFL job as an assistant quarterbacks coach in Green Bay in 2000. He was elevated to the quarterbacks coach in 2003. He was hired as Minnesota's offensive coordinator in 2006, and held that role through the 2010 season, before moving to Seattle to become their offensive coordinator from 2011-17.
After taking a year off of football in 2018, Bevell was hired by former Lions head coach Matt Patricia to be his offensive coordinator in 2019. Bevell was elevated to interim head coach for Detroit's last five games this season after the Lions relieved Patricia of his coaching duties.
Specialty: Bevell is a former Rose Bowl winning quarterback at Wisconsin. He cut his teeth in the NFL working closely with Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre in Green Bay. He helped elevate quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle offense to being one of the best units in the league while in Seattle.
Career highlights: Bevell won Super Bowl XLVIII as the offensive coordinator with Seattle. During a four-year stretch between 2012 and 2015 as Seattle's OC, Bevell's offense was top 10 in scoring each year and ranked in the top four in rushing each season. They were the No. 1 rushing team in 2014.
This past season with the Lions, Detroit tied a franchise record by scoring at least 20 points in 14 of their 16 contests.
Detroit connection: Bevell has run Detroit's offense the past two seasons and finished the 2020 season as the team's interim head coach the last five games. He was 1-4 over that stretch, though he was unable to coach Detroit's 47-7 loss to Tampa Bay Week 16 due to COVID-19 close contact protocols.
Quote: "Reflecting on it, like I said, I've been blessed, No. 1, to be in this role," Bevell said this week of his interim head-coaching role the last five games. "I've learned so much over a short period of time. I've had to deal with a lot in a short period of time. I think I've said it before that I learned that, (No.) 1, there's a great support system here around me. They've really helped me out and build me up. Then I have also learned that I can handle a lot.
"I've been able to learn some of the things I needed to learn in a quick time. I've had to make some very difficult decisions, as well. I think those are some of the things that I've been able to do in this short time. As far as the rest of it, we'll just see. We'll see how it goes."
Tim Twentyman's take: It was a tough gig for Bevell to inherit, and I thought he did a really good job with the resources he had. The team had a historically bad defense, and Detroit scoring 20-plus points in 14 games this year wasn't enough to make a difference.
I thought the players rallied and played hard for Bevell, and played better than their 1-4 record would indicate. Bevell's a really respected offensive mind in this league. He's prepared for this moment and should get an opportunity to run his own program, if not in Detroit this offseason, then somewhere in the near future.
Mike O'Hara's take: My primary take on Bevell as a candidate is based on the impact he made in his five games as interim head coach after the firing of Patricia. The Lions looked better than their 1-4 won-loss record under Bevell. It was just the opposite for the team he inherited. It looked worse than the 4-7 won-loss record.
Bevell's 14 seasons as offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Seahawks and Lions prepared him to take the next step as head coach. Bevell faced tough challenges when he took over and more arose. He handled them well. The bottom line: No one was going to win with that defense.