Detroit Lions: How Darrell Bevell can help Matthew Stafford improve

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

The boring, mediocre era of Jim Bob Cooter running the offense is over. And here’s how new OC Darrell Bevell can help the Detroit Lions‘ franchise passer.

After the dismissal of the hilariously-named mediocre playcaller Jim Bob Cooter, the Detroit Lions brought in his replacement on Wednesday, hiring Darrell Bevell to fix the offense that has been so consistent this past decade.

Bevell has been around the block in the NFL, coordinating the offense in Minnesota with Brett Favre as his gunslinger before coaching for seven years in Seattle with Russell Wilson, where the signal caller had five playoff appearances and two Super Bowl appearances.

Anyone who has been watching the Detroit Lions since Barry Sanders left knows that the running game is has been putrid. Before Kerryon Johnson rushed for 100 yards against the Patriots in Week 3, the Lions had previously gone five years without a runner hitting triple digits in a single game.

But the good news for the Lions offense is that if there’s one thing that Bevell knows how to do well, it’s run the football consistently. We now have more than ten years of proof that Bevell’s offenses finish in the top half in the league in every major statistical category.

And while getting good at the running game will obviously be good for players like Johnson and Zach Zenner, it will also help Matthew Stafford, a talented quarterback who has never had a consistent running game to help him with the offense.

While head coach Matt Patricia can now focus on improving upon the defense, with the experience he has at the position, Bevell can help shift this offense, with a more traditional run-first attack that’s different than the Lions have ever seen.

Although Bevell has seen successful as a coordinator in the NFL, he is most widely known for his biggest mistake: running slants at the one-yard line in the 2014 Super Bowl, causing an interception and a super bowl loss for Bevell and the Seahawks.

Despite an error in judgement at that time, Bevell has shown that he can get the most out of his quarterbacks, changing the system to fit their talents, with Pro-Bowl seasons from Brett Favre and Russell Wilson to show for it.

Hopefully Bevell can work his quarterback magic with Stafford, who statistically had one of his worst seasons in 2018.

One thing that held Stafford back this season was the play-calling of Cooter, whose short passes and generic offense with little to no offensive creativity held Stafford, trying to get the most out of a common system working around the league, but not letting Stafford do what he’s best at: throwing the deep ball.

When looking at back at Stafford’s past seasons, his best years statistical years, such as in 2011 and 2012, showed that he benefited greatly from airing out the ball out on offense.

Granted, these seasons did occur with Calvin Johnson, a generational talent who is nowhere to be found these days. But a superb play-caller and wide receivers who are good at catching jump balls like Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. can make up for Stafford not having that once-in-a-lifetime talent.

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Many football experts have compared the gunslinging talents of Stafford to that of Brett Favre, who Bevell got the most out of in his short stint in Minnesota.

And we know Bevell likes to throw the air out of the ball, as in 2017, Wilson had the most passing attempts of 20+ yards, which proves he’s not as conservative as his reputation says.

Having a new offensive coordinator may be the one thing that can rejuvenate Stafford and get him back to what to where he once was, and if that can’t, then maybe nothing will.