As we still wait to hear from new Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, we’re only left to speculate what sort of changes are coming to the team’s offense. Everyone generally agrees that the Lions will try to be more balanced—which is really just a code word for a bigger focus of resources on the running game.
We saw the Lions take the first couple steps in making that transformation last year when Detroit spent a first-round pick on guard Frank Ragnow and a second-round pick on Kerryon Johnson. Now by adding offensive line coach Jeff Davidson last year and Bevell this year, the Lions look to be completing that reimagination of their offense this year.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Matthew Stafford and the aerial attack will be gone. As we pointed out in Bevell’s quotes throughout his career, the offensive coordinator loves him some deep ball.
“It gives us opportunities to throw it, not just the little, you know, West-Coast Offense style where you’re going five or six yards, we want to be able to get big chunks,” Bevell said back in 2012.
So knowing all of that, today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player stands to benefit from the Darrell Bevell hire the most?
My answer: Well, the obvious answer here is Kerryon Johnson. For much of his rookie year, Johnson was relied upon as a complement, not a feature, of the Lions offense. He never carried the ball more than 20 times in a game, and he only has 15 rushes in three contests. That seems very likely to change next year, provided that Detroit doesn’t fall behind early and often in 2019.
But I’m going to go beyond just Johnson. I think the Bevell hire could be HUGE for Kenny Golladay. Bevell shared his love for the long ball, and no Lions receiver was better at it than Golladay last year. Golladay had 19 catches of 20+ yards in 2018—more than double anyone else on the team and 10th in the NFL.
If a successful running game affords Matthew Stafford more time in the pocket—like it should, in theory—Golladay will be given more time to get open and more one-on-one looks.
2018 was a breakout year for Golladay, as he broke the 1,000-yard barrier and started to emerge as the team’s No. 1 receiver. If things come together on offense this year, Golladay should be poised to make another big step in his development.