On the day before training camp, Darrell Bevell was hesitant to give away any secrets about the new offense he’ll be unveiling this year as the Detroit Lions’ new offensive coordinator.
“I kind of want to wait and save that for you guys to be able to see what you see,” Bevell told reporters on Wednesday morning.
But read between the lines a little during his media session this week, and you’ll find signs. Peppered with questions about Matthew Stafford, Bevell seemed to indicate we may see a little mobility from the Lions quarterback this year.
“Hopefully, he’s a little bit harder to find back there,” Bevell said. “Don’t just stand there right behind (center)—different launch points for a quarterback.” < God, I hope so >
That could mean several things the Lions offense hasn’t used much lately. Designed rollouts, play-action rollouts, more opportunities for Stafford to scan and traverse through the pocket. And Bevell think he’s still got the athleticism to do it, as Stafford enters his 11th season.
“I think he’s shown that he has the ability to—he can make some plays with his feet,” Bevell said. “He’s done that in the past. He’s good on the move, so we’ll be able to use all of those things.”
It’s a little odd the Lions moved away from this strategy as of late, because in 2016, he was one of the best out-of-the-pocket passers in the league.
During that 2016 season, Stafford also set a career high with 207 rushing yards. In the two seasons since then, he’s only had 169 yards combined.
Obviously Bevell has experience with a mobile quarterback having coached Russell Wilson in Seattle for several years. While Stafford doesn’t have quite the same athletic traits as Wilson, he’s proven pocket mobility is part of his repertoire. We’ll see if Bevell does indeed use that to his advantage in 2019.
I do think that an older and wiser Stafford has learned to get his happy ass on the ground if and when he takes off with the ball. As I recall, he wasn’t too proficient as sliding feet first, but when you’re married with kids you need to start thinking more about the future, ya know? Look, nobody wants to see the guy get crushed while running with the ball, but sometimes discretion indicates that you need to get the eff out of Dodge. Starting under center and rolling one way or the other makes a lot of sense to me, it sets up the RB for a handoff and it buys Stafford and his receivers a bit more time. I’ve often thought it wasn’t smart to just stand back there pretty much in the same place, cuz then the defense pretty much knows where you’re gonna be. And moving left or right gets you out of the box between the OTs so you can throw it away without a penalty once you do get out of that box.