Thoughts on Bevell so far

As mentioned in my other thread, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Bevell so far this year. A couple of notes:

  1. He’s far less run-focused than expected. We used empty-backfield sets against Arizona, which I really wasn’t expecting, and we’ve had more passes in general than I thought we would.
  2. He’s been fairly aggressive in playcalling. I was worried that we’d be looking at swing passes and short TE passes up the seam, but the passing offense has been fairly aggressive.
  3. He seems adaptable. We definitely did things differently in game 2 as compared to game 1, which was good to see.

Now for the concerns:
4. Our run offense has been somewhat lackluster, which is surprising. I don’t know if it’s playcalling or execution or both, but I expected better.
5. It seems like he can get too cute at times. See: quick slant in Seattle SB and our do-over 3rd down play last week. I’m sure there are other examples I’m forgetting, too, but I’m worried that he might be “too clever” on occasion. Hopefully, Game 1 got that out of his system and he’ll avoid out-thinking himself moving forward.

I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far with a limited 2 game sample size. I truly don’t know what they’re going to run in various formations (oh, what a change!). Yeah, I can see the too cute point, but I do like the creativity he exhibits and the willingness to go for the win versus SOL run up the gut three times and punt at the end of the game. Haven’t seen that in years with Caldwell, Cooter, Linehan, etc.

So far, I really like him. I agree there’s been a couple flaws and hiccups, but remember he has only seen these guys in 2 NFL games. He already showed improvement from game 1 to 2. Thats all you can really ask.

My observations

  1. So THIS is what a real offensive coordinator looks like! Too often, the Lions under JBC looked like Tecmo Bowl. Ran 8 plays, and if the other team guessed your play, all hell broke loose. This year, we’ve seen zone reads, nudity bootlegs, play action, etc. We’ve also seen some really aggressive calls. The pass to James was a thing of beauty. It wasnt just the call for a pass. It was the “hurry to the line, catch them flatfooted and end this thing”

  2. I think we are going to see an uptick in Stafford picks. I dont think it will be a 20 pick season, but it may be 15ish. I think Bevell has told Stafford that the gloves are off, and we are going back to slinging it. Not carelessly, but if we throw a pick on a 40-50yd pass, its a punt and we are good with that.

  3. Most importantly, I think Stafford is having fun playing football right now. I think Staffords biggest issue is he gets too comfortable running certain things. Go back to the Tecmo Bowl example. Under Linehan, we had too many set plays. Under JBC, we had teams calling out plays. With Bevell, its going to take some times for teams to get an idea of what we are running, but I think Bevell is also smart enough to bring out some obscure “lets have fun” calls to keep the other team guessing.

I think the offensive line still needs help, and thats why the running game is cramped up. I do think CJ Anderson is quickly being back burner’d and its going to be the Johnson and Johnson show very soon. I REALLY like what i see out of him. Most speed guys only run outside. That 16 yard run, from his own goal line was a thing of beauty. He didnt just pop the hole and go down on contact. He hit the hole, followed blockers, delivered some punishment and finished the run. Then came right back and did it again. I think Ty will be Kerryon’s spell back, and between the two of them they can both stay fresh and let CJ pound on the line for the odd carry or to salt away games with a lead.


I like to say “training wheels” or “governor” because that’s what Caldwell ball was.

I think that Bevell will have benefited from Caldwell’s small ball, Stafford almost certainly has learned things from that.

Id agree. I guess a better point is, I dont think we are going to see Stafford 2011, but I think we will see a more aggressive Stafford. Which could finally be the happy marriage of “take what the defense gives you” and “if you see that shot, take it”

Whats ironic is, a week ago Stafford was screaming Trust ME. I think everyone knows what happened here. Listening to Bevell and Patricia and Stafford, I think there was a “you know what? you want it, you got it”. I think the coaches took the game out of the players hands in Arizona. I think the coaches put the game right back in the players hands, and the players went out and won the game.

1 Like

I like Bevell more than Cooter. I agree he can get too cute sometimes like when it was 3rd and forever and he dialed up a run, that got shut down immediately. with all the weapons we had to throw to…common sense says you stand a much higher chance of getting 11-16 yards by passing it. ….verses running the football up the gut and into the teeth of the defense… I think Stafford has to be smart enough to know when Bevell is getting too cute/clever with the call and then be smart with the football EVEN if it’s 10 yards at a time, that IMO is better-than a “cute” play that gets us hurt by INT’s/TO’s , or no gain and loss of downs. you do what you can to produce a positive outcome.

i like the fact that he’s unpredictable. i think we are all sick of hearing other teams say that they knew what plays we were going to call.

i thought we were going to be a run heavy team so i’m glad to see we’re mixing it up. and i hope that he’s scripting his plays/strategy to take advantage of our opponents weaknesses.

1 Like

See… this isn’t getting cute. Teams don’t try to run the ball on 3rd and 16 because they might catch the other team sleeping. Teams run the ball on 3rd and 16 to avoid making a bigger mistake. Smart coaches know, not every drive is going to go well and get points. Sometimes, you’ve got to bite the bullet and know that if you are at 3rd and 16, something already went wrong, do not compound it. Play field position, trust your defense and live to fight another day. When you call a pass on 3rd and 16, its a high risk play. The other team is certainly playing coverage, and as good old Bo used to say, when you pass the ball, 3 things can happen and 2 of them are bad. Passing when the other team knows you are passing and knows they have to defend one line, its asking for trouble a lot of the time.

This is where coaches separate themselves. There is such a thing as being too conservative, and such a thing as being too aggressive, and both methods can kill you equally. A good coach has to feel that balance and decide if this is the hill we die on or if we run away and live to fight another day


about the run game being off…

2018 137 yards in our first two games…
2019: 210!

I think what we are really seeing is we can be way better than what has been put out there this yr.

but, no mistake… we are already a better running team under this OC!

The most interesting stat to me is that we’ve had more pass attempts from under center than shotgun.

Under Center 40
Shotgun 35

2 - 3 years ago, it was 85% shotgun.

This will help the run game because no longer will taking a snap under center mean “run”.

Interesting. Though I supposed the nature of the first game last year plays into that stat, I wouldn’t have guessed that the numbers looked so “good” in 2019.

And this is less surprising, but still good to see. I’d guess we’ve been more varied across the board in terms of personnel as well.

Ok, my mind says WE the Lions are not a GOOD/solid running team “yet” so we run and got killed 4th down and we give the ball right back to the opponent. we have more passing weapons than we ever had and some very reliable hands in Golladay , TJ, KJ , and MJ to say the least, so in my mind the call was try to get the ball in the hands of one of our receivers and we at least get “closer” IF we don’t convert. you don’t play scared. you must run or pass , there is no other way to move forward. Our weakness that {yes} is getting “better”…is running . the risk is the run…which didn’t work very well.

It’s not immediately readable. I love that!
Make the opposing defense earn their pay.

I have no idea how to look at Bevell yet, there isn’t enough of a sample size. I do think its a good thing to finally have a professional playcaller in charge again, instead of 2 QB coaches posing as playcallers.

It seems apparent that Bevell and Stafford need some time to feel eachother out.


It’s early but he may be the best OC Stafford has had to this point in his career. I could’ve stabbed Bevell for that timeout in week 1 but I understand where his head was at. Looking forward to seeing what we’re running mid-season.

1 Like

After only a two game sample I really have no complaints about Bevell…

I like the creativity we see as compared to the predictability we seen the last 2 years under cooter…

Its tough to find a better OC than Scott Linehan when it comes to EARLY in a guys career. He really is next level at handling green QBs. Scott just doesn’t do a good job of getting his QBs to the next level when defenses start figuring out what he’s doing with the kid. If I were drafting a young kid and starting him right away, Scott Linehan would be one of the first calls I’d make.


“I think we are going to see an uptick in Stafford picks.”

Absolutely, and it’s because his picks go WAY up on passes over 20 yards. While the same is true for most QB’s, Stafford is well ahead of the curve. JBC limited Staffords chances to throw deep because his style was to stay close by not turning over the ball and relying on a well coached Austin D to keep it close as well. Then he relied on, took the brakes off, Stafford late in the game. It was a proven philosophy and one that probably got the most out of the talent that we had. The downside was that it wasn’t likely to get us over the hump with re to making the playoffs and that’s why he’s gone. While I get why you need to stretch the field, I also agree that a long pass/interception is not a great way to lose the ball on first down.

I loved seeing Stafford have a chance to throw some shorter passes. But I hated that it became all the offense was about. I think as a general rule you should make defenses have to defend as many blades of grass as possible. Do not tie your own hands up. We did that with Stafford. I would be taking random shots all over the field, and particularly working in throws where DBs typically kind of slack off of their receiver to go help elsewhere because most QBs can’t or won’t make that throw (where they are on the field). Make them honor every single step of every coverage assignment, no plays off or cheating over.

I was a Linehan supporter prior to him coming to Detroit and also while he was here. I like what you said earlier, it’s definitely good to have a professional play caller again.