Darrell Bevell is in the building everybody.
The former Vikings and Seahawks offensive coordinator has been hired as the new OC for the Detroit Lions.
Bevell won a Super Bowl during his time in Seattle, where he ran one of the league’s best offenses with Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Golden Tate, and Max Unger. He was let go after the 2017 season, and took a year off from coaching in 2018.
Bevell was a bit of a surprise hire as no one had him on coordinator watch lists, or even the list of guys Detroit was interviewing. At the very least, Quinn and Patricia run a tight ship. Just because he is a surprise hire however does not make him a bad one. It’s nice to see Quinn and Patricia depart from the north east nepotism and bring in someone they don’t have direct working experience with. I was concerned they would roll with some offensive assistant for the Patriots once their season ends, or the guy that gets McVay’s coffee. Or even worse Godsey. Bevell is a nice breath of fresh air.
So why am I pleased with the hire? Well for starters Bevell has years of experience. He has 12 years of play-calling under his belt, as well as the entire 2018 year to sit back and watch the league, and adjust his offense accordingly.
I’m not going to come on here and act like I know the real X’s and O’s of Bevell’s scheme. I can only talk about what I know. Bevell made a name for himself in Seattle, where he took a rag-tag group of guys and not only turned them into a great offense, but one that was more than capable of winning multiple Super Bowls. Yes, he had talented players in Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, but those guys came to him as nobodies. Wilson was a 3rd round pick, and Lynch was an off the field concern after flaming out in Buffalo.
When Bevell won the Super Bowl, Wilson was 25 and his two leading receivers, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, were also both 25. Those are some young cats to be riding to the Lombardi trophy. Bevell also does more with less, something Cooter could not. Guys like Kearse, Christine Michael, Paul Richardson, and Ricardo Lockette all got their start with Bevell.
The thing I am most excited about is the potential for Kerryon Johnson too have a fantastic season. Cooter criminally underused him, and botched the running back rotations in general. Bevell coached Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, and Marshawn Lynch in Seattle. Now he gets his hands on a dude like Kerryon who is bubbling with talent, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.
Bevell will bring experience to the OC spot for the Lions, something that was clearly a problem when Patricia took the helm. It was pretty apparent that the offensively minded Jim Caldwell was covering up for a lot of Cooter’s shortcomings, and once a defensive guy came in the train came off the tracks.
I look forward to a new beginning for Stafford and company in Detroit. Now lets go get back Tate, eh?
Every season, NFL teams are overlooked. Whether it be an uneventful off-season, or not a lot of recent success, there are always a few teams who pleasantly surprise their fan base with a good season. The Eagles last year were one of these teams. Coming off a 7-9 year with a 2nd year coach and QB, not much was expected of that squad. 5 months later, rings were won. These teams below may not take home the Lombardi, but I see playoffs in their very near future.
1. New York Jets
With Teddy Bridgewater heading down to the Big Easy, this is now Sam Darnold’s team. He has looked more than competent in the preseason, and has Jets fans abuzz.
There are questions along the offensive line, but I think the skill position players will surprise. Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse are two solid receivers, Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, and Ardarius Stewart are guys who can also contribute. Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell are not a sexy RB tandem, but they can get the job done.
On defense, they finally have moved past the Mohammed Wilkerson/Sheldon Richardson era. Leonard Williams and small-school standout rookie Nathan Shepard look to take this group into the future. At linebacker, a breakout season from Darron Lee would be appreciated, but veteran Avery Williamson was brought into town from Tennessee to balance things out. On the back end, bringing in Trumaine Johnson was a big signing and Morris Claiborne has proved to be a decent #2 option. Jamal Adams is a stud and a first-class human being.
2. Seattle Seahawks
All this hype in the NFC West for the 49ers and Rams, it’s almost like they forgot who their daddy is.
It feels weird putting the Seahawks as a sleeper, but this is a team who missed the playoffs last year and has lost a lot of key pieces from their Super Bowl runs. Despite this, Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll are still the best coaching and QB combo in the division, and the team is full of upstart guys looking to prove themselves and earn roles. The alpha-dog atmosphere in Seattle ran out of juice, it’s time for a revitalization of sorts.
The offensive line is still not great, but it should be halfway decent in 2018. Getting rid of Luke Joeckel was a huge addition. Wilson is an escape artist, and will be able to pull rabbits out of his helmet as always. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett make up an underrated receiver group. Although I did not like Rashaad Penny, he was their first round pick at the running back spot, so they will have a talent at the position.
On defense, they still have Bobby Wagner and Frank Clark. It would be nice if Earl Thomas showed up to play, however that seems less and less likely by the day. Shaquill Griffin is an emerging star at corner, and veteran Byron Maxwell is looking to recapture the legion of boom magic from his early days in the pacific northwest.
The team has holes, but I think they have a chip on their shoulder that hasn’t existed in a while. A lot of the players like Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Cliff Avril, who never really seemed to forgive Pete Carroll for not running Marshawn Lynch, have left the building. What’s left is a rag-tag group of hungry ‘hawks, ones eerily reminiscent of these guys.
3. Indianapolis Colts
It’s almost like we all forgot how good Andrew Luck is.
Now he has a head coach who knows offense in Frank Reich, and an offensive line that shouldn’t give up 40+ sacks. Luck is far and away the best quarterback in the AFC South, and I expect this team to win that division in 2018. Offensively, some more receiver depth would be nice (@Dez Bryant), however T.Y. Hilton is among the best at his position and they will rely on a receiving boost from the tight end spot with Jack Doyle and the addition of Eric Ebron.
On defense, it looks shaky. However the departure of Antionio Morrison has opened up a spot on the starting D for Darius Leonard, a coverage specialist at the linebacker position that reminded many draft experts of Telvin Smith. Malik Hooker is a ball hawk, and if Quincy Wilson can break out at corner the secondary wont be so bad.
This team isn’t Super Bowl material, but in a weak AFC I think they have a real chance at a playoff spot.