On the day before training camp, Darrell Bevell was hesitant to give away any secrets about the new offense he’ll be unveiling this year as the Detroit Lions’ new offensive coordinator.
“I kind of want to wait and save that for you guys to be able to see what you see,” Bevell told reporters on Wednesday morning.
But read between the lines a little during his media session this week, and you’ll find signs. Peppered with questions about Matthew Stafford, Bevell seemed to indicate we may see a little mobility from the Lions quarterback this year.
“Hopefully, he’s a little bit harder to find back there,” Bevell said. “Don’t just stand there right behind (center)—different launch points for quarterback.”
Launchpoint, Bevell clarified, simply refers to where the quarterback is in the pocket when throwing.
That could mean several things the Lions offense hasn’t used much lately. Designed rollouts, play-action rollouts, more opportunities for Stafford to scan and traverse through the pocket. And Bevell think he’s still got the athleticism to do it, as Stafford enters his 11th season.
“I think he’s shown that he has the ability to—he can make some plays with his feet,” Bevell said. “He’s done that in the past. He’s good on the move, so we’ll be able to use all of those things.”
It’s a little odd the Lions moved away from this strategy as of late, because in 2016, he was one of the best out-of-the-pocket passers in the league.
Aaron Rodgers passing stats when he broke the pocket last year. He led league in each of these categories pic.twitter.com/CSeZEiP2NL— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) May 24, 2017
During that 2016 season, Stafford also set a career high with 207 rushing yards. In the two seasons since then, he’s only had 169 yards combined.
Obviously Bevell has experience with a mobile quarterback having coached Russell Wilson in Seattle for several years. While Stafford doesn’t have quite the same athletic traits as Wilson, he’s proven pocket mobility is part of his repertoire. We’ll see if Bevell does indeed use that to his advantage in 2019.