Mobile, Ala. — In the halls of Mobile Convention Center on Tuesday morning, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn deferred comment to coach Matt Patricia when asked about new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, but the GM shared some observations on the hire in an interview with Sirius XM radio the night before.
Quinn praised Bevell’s background and schematic flexibility.
“He came in and had a great interview with our staff, myself and Coach,” Quinn told Sirius XM. “Really, he’s a guy that brings a lot of different packages. He really does a good job of taking the personnel he has, whether it’s that season or that week, and tailoring it to what we’re going to do, taking the vision of the head coach and tailoring the offense to the skill sets of our players.
“That’s something that really attracted us to him,” Quinn continued. “He’s been in a couple different offenses, really threw the ball around in Green Bay early in his career, kind of had a run-based attack in Minnesota and Seattle, but he can do some west coast stuff, can do a ground-and-pound. It’s going to be a little bit of a mix of everything and that’s really what led us to Darrell in the end.”
Quinn, Patricia and several other members of the team’s front office are in Mobile to scout the Senior Bowl practices this week and get their first chance to meet prospects face-to-face. Bevell did not make the trip.
The Lions are coming off a dismal season on offense, finishing in the bottom-10 in the NFL in both points and yardage. The team mutually agreed to part ways with Jim Bob Cooter at the end of the year after the former coordinator’s contract expired.
Bevell was hired two weeks later, after the team had reportedly shown interest in three other candidates — Todd Monken, Steve Sarkisian and Nathanial Hackett — who each took jobs elsewhere prior to Detroit making their decision.
Bevell inherits an offense that has some core pieces in place, including quarterback Matthew Stafford. Quinn provided the passer a ringing endorsement at the end of the season and continued to sing Stafford’s praises to Sirius XM.
“We’re all really excited to have Matthew Stafford back,” Quinn said. “He really goes under the radar. When we’re not winning, he doesn’t get as much credit, but when he does, he doesn’t get enough, either. He’s in a tough spot because he’s really talented. We need to do a better job of putting him in position to succeed.”
The Lions also have young building blocks in running back Kerryon Johnson and wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Johnson missed the final six games with a knee injury, but in the 10 games he played, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry, the second-best rate in the NFL.
Golladay, meanwhile, made a big jump in his second season, catching 70 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns.
“I think one of the biggest things we saw was we were able to put him in different positions, not just line him up outside,” Quinn said. “We were able to move around the formation, put him inside, put him in motion and utilize some of the matchups. Really, starting in Week 4 or 5, the No. 1 corner on the other team started following him. We saw that as coaches and myself that we can’t leave him in one spot because that’s going to make it really easy for the defense. We kind of moved around a little bit and he really picked it up, mentally, really quickly. And he showed some things as a route runner on the inside, breaking routes and lining up from the slot, that really took his game to the next level.”
One area where the Lions will look to improve this offseason is at tight end. Quinn said he’s been encouraged by what he’s seen from the position in the upcoming draft.
“Yeah, that’s a position we’re looking at,” Quinn said. “We have a couple guys that are free agents coming up, so we have to make decisions on those guys. And this is a great class, from what I’ve seen so far in the draft, so that’s something we’re going to be looking at really close.”