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Why Lions were drawn to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell

INDIANAPOLIS – It was something Matt Patricia and Darrell Bevell never discussed when the two sat down in Orlando this offseason to talk about Detroit's opening at the offensive coordinator position.

One of the most famous endings in Super Bowl history involved both Patricia and Bevell -- Patricia as New England's defensive coordinator and Bevell as Seattle's offensive coordinator in Super Bowl XLIX.

Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler made a game-saving interception off Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson at the Patriots' one-yard line with just 26 seconds remaining in what likely ranks in the top five Super Bowl finishes of all time.

"Totally not part of the conversation," Patricia said with a smile at the Combine Wednesday, when asked about Bevell's interview and that play. "I think it was a mutual kind of just eye connection that said, 'We're not going to talk about that and we'll just move on to now.'"

View photos from general managers and head coaches speaking to the media on Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Patricia didn't know much about Bevell before the two first sat down to talk about Detroit's opening for an offensive coordinator. The only thing he really knew about Bevell was how hard his offense was to scheme against, which was a good starting point for their conversations.

"He's obviously someone I have a great deal of respect for playing against him in some of the bigger stages of our game," Patricia said. "One of the things that's great about him is just kind of the experience through the different systems he's been in. He's been able to evolve and adapt many different offenses to fit the quarterbacks he's been around."

Bevell is best known for working with Brett Favre and Russell Wilson, both of whom enjoyed career seasons under his tutelage .

Favre completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,202 yards (7.9 average) with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 2009 with a 107.2 passer rating. Minnesota lost to eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game in overtime that season.

Bevell won a Super Bowl with Wilson in 2013, and went to another one the following year, losing to Patricia and the Patriots.

In 2015, Wilson threw for over 4,000 yards (4,024) for the first time in his career with 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a then career high 110.1 passer rating.

In Detroit, Bevell inherits a 10-year veteran quarterback in Matthew Stafford. Hopefully Bevell has some of the same kind of statistical success with Stafford as he did with Favre and Wilson, as well as some of the playoff success he had with them, too.

Over the course of his discussions with Bevell, Patricia just felt from a personality and philosophy standpoint, he and Bevell were on the same page with what they're trying to build in Detroit.

"It was a really good conversation," Patricia said. "Didn't know him until I spent a couple days with him and just kind of everything clicked from that standpoint. It was great.

"The great thing about Bevell is that he's so adaptive to what is best for the players we have and the quarterback position obviously being the most critical. We'll start there and we'll build and go from there. It's not a situation where I'd say it's hard defined like this is exactly what (the offense) is, because we want to grow it as the Lions' offense and that's what's important."

Like Patricia's defense – a defense that finished in the top 10 in the NFL last season – Bevell and the offense plan to build the scheme around the players, starting with Stafford.

The Lions' defense did a terrific job of scheming to the players' strengths this past season. They put players in good spots to be successful, especially the second half of the season. The plan is for the offensive scheme to do the same.

"Hopefully, it's one that scores points," Bevell said this offseason of his offense. "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."

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