Darrell Bevell makes sense for Lions in Matt Patricia’s vision

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Throughout the past season, it always seemed like Matt Patricia wanted a ball-control offense for his Detroit Lions. Rarely did the Lions play with a ton of tempo. He often made it clear that he believed running the ball effectively was the best way to the postseason and beyond.

In an era of high-octane passing in the NFL, Detroit wants to work with the run and with balance. The Lions were able to hire the man who coordinated one of the better rushing attacks of the past decade in the NFL to do it.

Darrell Bevell isn’t a wow-factor name. He isn’t a young, on-the-rise coach from the Sean McVay or Andy Reid lineages. That might not excite a lot of fans. But that’s OK. Bevell fits exactly what Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn want in an offensive coordinator. While the results remain to be seen, that is what makes this a smart hire by the Lions.

Patricia was asked in his season-ending news conference last month whether his offense needed modification. He answered by praising the idea of the run game.7

“Watch through the playoffs, most of the teams that win in the playoffs are teams that run the ball and win the big games in the end. I have been on good sides and bad sides of both of that,” Patricia said. “And teams that can run the ball, stop the run, control the game toward the end of the season is really, I think, the teams that will have the most chance to win. The passing game is certainly dynamic, the spread offenses, the things that we have to see and deal with, the RPO systems, the different developments in college that come up and infiltrate into our league are certainly things that we all have to deal with.

“But there is a fundamental philosophy that I do believe with the run game and stopping the run and covering kicks. That is true, and so far, that has held true so far through the course of the season.”

The Lions needed to bring in a coordinator who could mesh well with Patricia’s vision for the offense. If they didn’t, no matter who it was, there would’ve been very little chance of the hiring being successful. Having a coordinator who knows how to build a successful running game, which Seattle had year after year with Bevell running the offense, was critical.

Patricia and Bevell are somewhat linked, too, by the play Bevell is most known for (even if it wasn’t entirely his fault): The final meaningful play of Super Bowl XLIX, on which Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone after the Seahawks didn’t call for a Marshawn Lynch run. Patricia was running that defense. Bevell was running that offense.