The Detroit Lions have found a new leader for their offense, hiring veteran coach Darrell Bevell to be their new offensive coordinator Wednesday.
Bevell joins the Lions with more than a decade of NFL experience as an offensive coordinator in both Minnesota and Seattle.
Here are five quick things to know about Detroit’s new offensive coordinator:
RUN GAME IMPORTANCE
Bevell’s offenses have finished in the top 10 in rushing percentage eight times in his 12 years as an OC. That’s important because running the football efficiently and being balanced on offense is an important part of head coach Matt Patricia’s coaching philosophy.
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 football in 2014. Those teams were led by Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch.
The Lions drafted rookie Kerryon Johnson in the second round last year. Johnson finished his rookie season with a 5.43 yards per carry average, the second highest among the 49 rushers with at least 100 carries in 2018. His average ranks as the highest by a rookie rusher with at least 100 attempts in Lions history.
Bevell looks to be coming into a good situation on the ground in Detroit with an up and coming running back to work with.
RESULTS AT QUARTERBACK
The two quarterbacks Bevell is best known for working with are Brett Favre and Russell Wilson. Both enjoyed career seasons under Bevell.
Favre had one of his finest statistical seasons in 2009 with the Vikings. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,202 yards (7.9 average) with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. His 107.2 passer rating that season was the only time in Favre’s career he finished a season with a rating over 100.0.
Bevell spent seven seasons running Seattle’s offense and was instrumental in the drafting of Wilson in 2012. The pair won a Super Bowl together in 2013 and went to another one the following year. He lost to Matt Patricia’s New England Patriots following the 2014 season.
The 2015 season saw Wilson throw for over 4,000 yards (4,024) for the first time in his career with 34 touchdowns and just eight interceptions for a then career high 110.1 passer rating.
In eight of Bevell’s 12 years as a coordinator, he’s led a top 15 scoring offense. Five times he’s led a top five scoring offense.
2007 – Minnesota: 15th
2008 – Minnesota: 12th
2009 – Minnesota: 2nd
2012 – Seattle: 9th
2013 – Seattle: 8th
2014 – Seattle: 10th
2015 – Seattle: 4th
KNOWING THE NORTH
Bevell spent five seasons as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator from 2006-10. His best year in Minnesota came in 2009 with Favre. The Vikings were second in scoring that season and fifth in total offense.
Before joining the Vikings, Bevell was an assistant quarterbacks coach (2000-02) and then quarterbacks coach (2003-06) for the Green Bay Packers.
He knows all the about the black-and-blue mentality of the division, and what it takes to win late in the season in places like Chicago and Green Bay.
A FORMER BIG TEN QUARTERBACK
A former quarterback at the University of Wisconsin, Bevell was a four-year starter for the Badgers.
He was named the Badgers' starting quarterback in 1992. In 1993, he led the Badgers to a 10–1–1 record, a Big Ten championship and the school’s first Rose Bowl invitation since 1963.
Bevell finished his career with 19 school records, including most passing yards in a single game (423) and in a career (7,686).