When the Lions fired offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter at the end of last year, many fans thought there was nowhere to go but up. After seeing now-Jets head coach Adam Gase ruin Sam Darnold and the New York Jets offense, we know that such a statement was not true.
Fortunately, the Lions didn’t have to learn that the hard way. Instead, they brought in former Seattle Seahawks coordinator Darrell Bevell to install his vertical-passing, play-action heavy offense in Detroit. In spite of mixed opinions (and lots of surprise at the time, as Bevell flew totally under the radar), Bevell has earned every penny of his 2019 paycheck as he works wonders with every player the Lions line up under center.
Unsung hero of the week: Darrell Bevell
I’ll say right off the bat that Darrell Bevell is making a strong case for Unsung Hero of the Year. The Lions picked up raw quarterbacks off the post-training camp waiver wire to back up Matthew Stafford this year, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the tape.
While backup and third-string quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and David Blough don’t qualify for most metrics due to not having played enough games/stats, we can look at where they’d place nonetheless. ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating ranks Driskel as the 41st-best passer this season among all players (qualified or unqualified). That’s ahead of Sam Darnold, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Teddy Bridgewater, and Jacoby Brissett.
Blough, meanwhile, balled out in his first game and finds himself sitting at 31st overall. That places him ahead of Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, and— no, this is not a typo—Tom Brady.
Sure, those aren’t Pro-Bowl caliber rankings. But considering Driskel was cut from the now 1-11 Cincinnati Bengals and Blough is an undrafted rookie who was the Browns’ fourth-string quarterback (not to mention the lowest-rated Madden quarterback this year), it’s quite impressive that Bevell has sustained a higher level of success than some offenses have had with their starters this season.
If the Lions had some semblance of life on their defense, the two quarterbacks would have quite a few wins to their names, likely including the Thanksgiving game against the Bears. Unfortunately that’s not the case, but don’t let that deter you from thinking Bevell has worked anything short of a miracle with the Lions’ passing game this season.