PHOENIX – Shortly after being hired as Detroit's new offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell spoke to season ticket members in February, and said he didn't yet know what the Lions' offense was going to look like, because his philosophy has always been to build the offense around his players and what they do well. At that point, he wasn't yet up to speed on personnel.
It's now late March. Bevell has a much better understanding of what he has to work with, and head coach Matt Patricia said Tuesday at the Annual League Meetings that it's been fun to watch the offense come together over the last couple months.
"It's really cool and it's been great for me to see a very similar philosophy to what I have on defense in trying to put the players we have in the best situation possible to win," Patricia said. "That's kind of what he's been able to do with his fundamental background and more of the west-coast philosophy, but really his ability to build on top of that and having that mind that's creative like that.
"It's been great for me to watch him and (offensive line coach) Jeff Davidson, someone who's been with me for a while going back to New England, to watch those two work together and kind of build the offense."
What will the new offense ultimately look like? Patricia expects it to be much like his defense, which is multiple, boasting the ability to attack teams in different ways from week to week depending on game plan.
When searching for a replacement for former coordinator Jim Bob Cooter after the season, Lions general manager Bob Quinn said the biggest trait they were looking for was adaptability from their new leader on offense -- Someone who could adjust on the fly and was prepared for anything.
Bevell's offenses have finished in the top 10 in rushing percentage eight times in his 12 years as an OC.
But the two quarterbacks he is best known for working with, Brett Favre and Russell Wilson, also both enjoyed career seasons in Bevell's offense.
"It'll grow, it'll develop, it'll move, it'll shift and whatever it looks like in the spring will be different than training camp and what it looks like in September will be different than what it looks like in December," Patricia said. "But having that ability to move and be fluid with that is what's important for a coach and Bev's (Bevell) got that, which is great."
Patricia said he's most looking forward to getting the players back in Allen Park in April and starting to sit down with them and talk about the offense and what fits and what doesn't. It will be a learning process throughout the offseason training program and into training camp.
"I'll just be real excited when we get to that point where we can then have the conversation with the players, because to be honest with you, that's the best part," Patricia said. "When you sit down with the players and get an opportunity eventually here to sit down with a Matt Stafford and say, 'Hey, what do you like? What works for you? These players on our team do this really well. How do we fit these pieces together?'
"It'll definitely be something for us on the offensive side of the ball that'll be a continuing process through the spring because the most important key of it will be getting our players back."