Can a new offensive coordinator take the Detroit Lions greatest player to new heights in 2019? It appears that Darrell Bevell is going to push to do just that.
The career of Matthew Stafford has underwhelmed following his selection as the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Yes, Stafford is arguably the greatest quarterback in Detroit Lions history. And he is a ten-year veteran. But the fact Detroit has yet to win a single playoff game during his tenure is utterly disappointing.
And as much as it can be argued that the Lions have done a terrible job placing talent around Stafford, at some point the failure to win in the postseason has to fall on the shoulders of the man under center. Someone who also happens to have one of the highest salaries in the entire league. Stafford boasts the seventh biggest contract going into 2019 according to NFL.com.
The 31-year old quarterback has just one Pro Bowl nomination under his belt (2014). And there is a sense that the window is closing on Stafford despite his relatively young age. The time for him to start winning is now. If it doesn’t happen soon, the veteran passer might be shown the door along with general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia.
Ironically, it could be an offensive coordinator who is known for running the football that saves Stafford’s career. In fact, Darrell Bevell could be the quarterback’s last, best chance at finding postseason success in the Motor City. But that is going to require the old Stafford to learn some new tricks.
Here’s what Bevell told the Detroit Free Press about his plans for Stafford this upcoming season.
"“I’m going to ask Matthew to do things that he hasn’t done before and try to challenge him in a way that I think can push him to get better. But then obviously I need to tailor things for him to make sure that what he feels like he does well, that we’re able to as well. He’s been really receptive to that.”"
Bevell has had previous success in the passing game during his time as an NFL offensive coordinator, despite his pedigree for fielding dominate rushing attacks. Back in 2009, as the OC for the Minnesota Vikings, Bevell led the Vikes to the NFC Conference Championship game due in large part to fielding the eighth best passing attack in the league that season.
Minnesota’s quarterback that year was Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who posted an incredible stat-line of 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions with a completion percentage of 68.4.
If Darrell Bevell can pull that kind of production out of Matthew Stafford, it might change the trajectory of his career. But if the Detroit Lions continue to misfire, it could mean Stafford’s time in the Motor City is coming to an end.