The Detroit Lions have hired Darrell Bevell as their new offensive coordinator.
Bevell replaces Jim Bob Cooter, whose contract was not renewed by the team earlier this month. The Lions ranked 23rd in rushing yards per game (103.8), 20th in passing yards per game (223.5) and 24th in points per game (19.38) this past season.
Bevell was offensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks from 2011 to ’17. He was fired by Seattle after the 2017 season.
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Darrell Bevell’s offenses in Seattle were run first and run heavy and emphasized playing at a slower pace to neutralize opposing offenses.
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Bevell helped the Seahawks reach two Super Bowls — including a win against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. But the 49-year-old is perhaps best known for calling a pass play on the goal line in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots. Malcolm Butler intercepted it, securing a win for the Patriots, whose defense at the time was coached by Matt Patricia, the Lions’ current head coach.
The pass play was largely criticized because the Seahawks had Marshawn Lynch, one of the game’s best short-yardage rushers. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll took all the blame for the call for following the loss.
During Bevell’s time in Seattle, the Seahawks averaged 131.9 yards rushing, 216 yards passing and 23.99 points per game. Most of this was done with Lynch at running back and Russell Wilson at quarterback.
When the Lions set out on an offensive coordinator search, general manager Bob Quinn said it would be largely Patricia’s hire. Patricia, coming off a 6-10 season in his first year, has seemed to favor a ball-control offense with a strong rushing game — the type Bevell ran with the Seahawks.
Quinn said in his season-ending news conference that more than anything, Detroit wanted a coordinator who could adapt his offense by the week.
“We want to be able to run the ball, we want to be able to use our quarterback because he has a ton of talent. So we want to be diverse,” Quinn said. “We’re not going to sit there and be in four wide receivers, shotgun every play and throw it 45 times. That’s not good for anybody. On the other hand, we’re not going to be three tight ends and run the ball 40 times.
“We need to do a better job of going into each week looking at the opponent and say, ‘How are we going to beat this team?’ If they have a great run defense and a poor pass defense, maybe we throw it 45 times and vice versa. So, we want someone that thinks that way. That thinks that, ‘Hey, I have an offense, but my offense is adaptable. I can change week-to-week, or I can change from this week I have this set of receivers, and two weeks later I don’t.’
Prior to his time in Seattle, Bevell was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator for five years.
While there, the Vikings averaged 133.2 rushing yards and 201 passing yards per game.
Bevell played quarterback at Wisconsin, where he was a four-year starter, and overlapped with Quinn at Connecticut, when Bevell was the Huskies’ wide receivers coach in 1998-99 and Quinn was a graduate assistant within the football program.