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TWENTYMAN: What to expect from Lions' offense after coaching change

Offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators typically operate under the overall structure and philosophies of their head coaches.

How much influence former Lions head coach Matt Patricia had on each area of Detroit's schemes based on his overall philosophy is unclear, but after Patricia was relieved of his duties on Saturday, we're about to find out how things might change with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell taking over as interim head coach the last five games of the season.

Bevell said defensive coordinator Cory Undlin will continue to run the defense and call plays on that side of the ball. Brayden Coombs and the special teams units have been a bright spot all year, so little is expected to change there.

So what changes might we see on offense?

"I think (Matt Patricia) gave me a lot of leeway to run the offense," Bevell said Monday. "There's a lot of things that are going on on offense when you're trying to maximize the skills sets of the guys that you have, and the weaknesses that you have, you're trying to not let them show up.

"In the last game, we did have a little fun. We were able to hit the one, the reverse, triple hand-back to Matthew (Stafford); we threw it back to Matthew on another one. So we're going to continue to try to do that. It's fun moving the ball down the field. We have playmakers, we just have to get it in their hands."

While Patricia, a defensive-minded coach, did give Bevell some leeway to run the offense, Patricia was still a firm believer in playing tough, hard-nosed football founded on balance on offense and the ability to be a tough running football team. He talked often about building from the ball out and being strong up the middle on both sides of the ball. It's probably one of the reasons why Detroit signed running back Adrian Peterson this offseason and featured his tough-running style often in the first half of the season.

But with Bevell now in complete control of the offense, it will be interesting to see how his philosophies might differ, and how this offense might look different the final five games of the year.

Detroit's best assets for quarterback Matthew Stafford on offense are skill-position weapons at wide receiver in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., a tight end in T.J. Hockenson who can spread the field and a dynamic running back in rookie D’Andre Swift.

"I'm asking the guys to come in with refreshed attitude, ready to work, No. 1, but ready to have a good time and let them play with their hair on fire," Bevell said Monday. "Let them play fast; let them play free. We'll worry about the end result at the end, but we're going to take it one game at a time. Hopefully we like what happens at the end."

Through the first 11 games of the season, Detroit ranks tied for 21st in total offense, 27th in rushing and 13th in passing. The explosive plays that were a staple of Bevell's offense in 2019 haven't been nearly as prevalent this season, partly because of how defenses have played the Lions this year.

"I want us to play more consistent," Bevell said of his offense moving forward. "I want us to continue to find those explosive plays that we haven't been as consistent as we'd like to be in finding those."

Bevell was asked Monday point blank how his offense might run differently these final five contests. He paused for a moment, smiled and said: "Good question. I think we'll have to wait and find out."

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