Durkin’s Coaching Breakdown: Darrell Bevell
By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) The Bears reportedly have three finalists for their head coaching vacancy and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is among them.
Here’s a look at Bevell’s strengths, scheme and what type of skill position players the Bears would need to add to properly execute his system:
What is Bevell’s NFL coaching experience?
Bevell has 13 years of NFL coaching experience. He’s been a quarterbacks coach and an offensive coordinator, with seven years of experience as a play-caller.
Which head coaches has Bevell worked for?
Mike Sherman (6 years), Brad Childress (4), Pete Carroll (2), Leslie Frasier (1).
Which notable quarterbacks has Bevell worked with?
Brett Favre (8), Aaron Rodgers (1), Russell Wilson (1).
Bevell worked with Favre for eight seasons, and perhaps his most impressive mentorship was in 2009. Then 40, Favre turned in a masterful season, posting a career high 107 quarterback rating, a career low seven interceptions and led the Vikings to an NFC Championship game appearance.
This past season, Bevell helped turn third-round draft pick Russell Wilson into a record-setter, tying Peyton Manning’s mark of 26 passing touchdowns as a rookie. Wilson’s growth from Week 1 to the Divisional playoff round was astounding, as he transformed from game manager to game winner. Bevell incrementally added more wrinkles to the playbook each week, and by season’s end, the Seahawks were playing as well as any team in the league.
What makes Bevell an attractive head coaching candidate?
He runs a balanced offensive scheme, and has proven success with a headstrong quarterback.
In a pass-happy NFL, the 2012 Seahawks were one of six teams to run the ball more than they passed it (leading the group with a +131 differential), yet they ranked in the top nine in scoring.
A while back, I drew a statistical comparison between Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and Brett Favre. Outside of measurable similarities, both players have worn the “gunslinger” label, reserved for improvisational quarterbacks who trust their cannon-like arms to try and fit passes in windows most wouldn’t (sometimes for good reason).
Bevell could draw upon past experiences with Favre and apply them to Cutler, with hopes of helping turn on the light bulb in Cutler’s head to maximize his talent.
What is Bevell’s offensive philosophy?
Bevell runs a hybrid of the West Coast offense. He’s a firm believer in softening up a defense with inside-zone running plays to set up play-action passes down the field.
While in Minnesota, the Vikings maintained a balanced attack, and improved every season in points scored, yards per pass attempt, and third down conversion percentage.
Bevell showed adaptability this season by adding elements of the zone read and bubble screen, familiar concepts to a quarterback fresh out of college, like Wilson.
In a previous playbook entry, I broke down the Seahawks dangerous play-action passing attack.
What type of skill position players would the Bears need to add for Bevell?
A vertical threat wide receiver. The Bears have a marquee “go up and get it” wide receiver in Brandon Marshall, and a similarly skilled player in Alshon Jeffery. A true deep threat that can put pressure over the top of a defense would aid the installation and ultimate success of Bevell’s offensive scheme.
Dan Durkin joined The Score’s columnist community after finishing runner-up in the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he was a member of the men’s football team (despite his best efforts to join the women’s team). Dan is a longtime Scorehead, known as Dan in Wicker Park – even though he no longer resides in Wicker Park – who will be sharing NFL analysis and opinions. You can follow Dan on Twitter @djdurkin. To read more of Dan’s blogs click here.