One of the most anticipated moments from Monday’s season ticket fan summit was the opportunity to hear from new Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. The Lions hired Bevell nearly a month ago, but with no introductory press conference, Lions fans were left to simply infer from Bevell’s past comments what he may bring to Detroit.
And what fans found was a coach who had helped develop some of the nastiest running games in the modern era. Working alongside potential Hall of Famers in Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, Lions fan could only salivate thinking about Bevell coaching up promising young running back Kerryon Johnson.
On Monday, Bevell admitted he was looking forward to the opportunity to have Johnson as his running back.
“(He’s) another one I’m really excited to work with,” Bevell said. “Again, I had a great conversation with him on the phone. He’s really got himself put together. He’s a smart young man.”
Johnson is entering his first offseason as an NFL player, and that can be a big adjustment. Unlike college, where you can train and practice with the team for six months before the season, NFL players only get about nine offseason weeks with the team. The rest of their training must be done individually, outside the purview of the team. On top of that, Johnson is also going through injury recovery.
But in his conversation with Kerryon, Bevell came away impressed with his offseason plan.
“He knows exactly what his plan is,” Bevell said. “You know, I was asking him, ‘Where are you going to be? What are you going to be doing this week? How about this week? When are you coming back up here?’ He had all the answers, and he’s really squared away that way.’”
That’s not all that common with an NFL player, and it’s extremely important. At this point last year, Johnson was busy preparing for the NFL Combine and other draft events. This year, he can give his full focus to the Lions, and that could result in the crucial jump from Year 1 to Year 2.
Considering all the promise Johnson showed in his rookie year—64.1 rushing yards per game (17th) and 5.4 yards per carry (second)—2019 could be an epic year for the Lions running back. He appears to be doing everything right in the offseason and he’s going to be paired with an offensive coordinator equipped to use him in the best possible manner.