Detroit Lions: 3 questions to ask in the Darrell Bevell era

Matthew Stafford, Darrell Bevell, Detroit Lions (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Matthew Stafford, Darrell Bevell, Detroit Lions (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Darrell Bevell era is slated to start for the Detroit Lions on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, we listed things that you should keep an eye out for.

As expected, the Detroit Lions have fired their head coach and general manager. Their choice for an interim head coach was offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. With five games to go, Bevell has a chance to make his case for keeping the job next season.

Here are some questions he has to answer before I could comfortable with giving him consideration for the job this off-season.

1. Will the running back usage change?

If you don’t know by now, Bevell’s first offensive coordinator gig was with the Minnesota Vikings. His lead back? Current Lions’ running back Adrian Peterson. This season, Detroit signed Adrian Peterson to mentor the younger backs on roster.

That quickly turned in Peterson becoming the lead back. In which we saw his production drop off each game. Three weeks ago, rookie running back D’Andre Swift was named the starter. In classic Lions fashion he was injured shortly after.

Heading into the “Bevell era”, he should have all three running backs available to him. Does he go back to Peterson? Will he unleash Swift? Is running back Kerryon Johnson in line to get more carries?

2. Pass happy offense?

In the first eight weeks of the 2019 season. We saw a Detroit Lions team that wasn’t afraid to throw deep. They threw the ball to stretch the defense, opening running lanes for their running backs.

However, this has not been the case as of late. Quarterback Matthew Stafford averaged 10.6 air yards per attempt last season. This year? That number drops down 8.0. It feels more conservative now, especially after Stafford’s thumb injury. A lot of “west coast” concepts, which doesn’t fit Stafford at all.

Unfortunately, we can’t tell if his injury will limit Bevell’s play calling. Although, from what we’ve seen in the last two weeks. It would be safe to say it won’t be an issue.

3. Is Bevell going to control the defense?

Bevell did say that he has trust in defensive coordinator Cory Undlin to call the defense. He also said that he’s excited to coach the defense with an offensive perspective. In his 24 year coaching career, he’s never held a defensive coaching position.

It will be interesting to see if he has any impact on the Lions’ defense. Perhaps he could implement some defensive concepts that has slowed down his own offense.

Message to fans: Keep an open mind

It’s common to hear “we need to fire our coordinators” or to place all the offensive struggles on Bevell. That isn’t entirely true. The fact is, we aren’t on the sidelines with the rest of the team.

Some coaches will give full control to their coordinators, some will limit them and make sure everything goes through that said coach. In result, it’s very possible that Bevell wasn’t allowed to do certain things.

That, however, is only speculation. There are two likely scenarios for the rest of this season. The first is more of the same. That former head coach Matt Patricia hired coordinators who will run things the same exact way without him.

The ladder, is a world where Lions’ coordinators will switch things up. Do things that Patricia didn’t like or practiced. They do have experience outside of Detroit.

light. Related Story. For Darrell Bevell, Lions head coach gig goes through NFC North

Bevell has ran multiple different offensive scheme. Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin came from the Philadelphia Eagles, whose defense is on the other side of the spectrum from the Lions. Obviously, major changes aren’t made over night, but we could see subtle ones.