Lions second-year head coach Matt Patricia (above right) decided to change offensive coordinators during the offseason, and he opted for someone Wisconsin football fans know quite well: Ex-University of Wisconsin quarterback Darrell Bevell (above left), who served as a Packers assistant from 2000 to 2005, and as a Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator from 2006 through 2010.
Not only did Bevell coach quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers — Bevell’s final year on the Packers’ staff was Rodgers’ rookie season — but Bevell was also obviously at the heart of Favre joining the Vikings for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Bevell went on to coordinate the Seattle Seahawks’ offense from 2011 through 2017, helping develop quarterback Russell Wilson, who led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, including the Super Bowl XLVIII title. He spent last year out of football after Seattle coach Pete Carroll fired him after the 2017 season.
Now, in Detroit, Bevell has quarterback Matthew Stafford playing some of the best football of his career with 1,122 yards, a 62.4 completion percentage and nine touchdowns against two interceptions (102.6 passer rating). Offensively, the Lions rank eighth in total offense (387.5 yards per game) and 12th in scoring offense (24.3 points per game).
“I think (Bevell) has done a great job with the offense and really implementing different schemes and installing the offense — and growing the offense to fit Matthew Stafford and what we’re trying to do here with our players,” Patricia said. “He’s really got a great calmness about him as a teacher, and I think he’s someone that sees the game very similar to the way that I see it and how to approach it week-in and week-out and what we need to do to try to win. From the first time I met him and talking with him and talking football philosophy, I think we just kind of hit it off. He’s been great.”
Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9 a.m. until noon on “Wilde & Tausch” on 100.5 FM ESPN Madison.