Darrell Bevell

Jaguars Plan To Hire Darrell Bevell As OC

Darrell Bevell may soon land on his feet. The veteran offensive coordinator and recent interim Lions head coach has spent multiple days in Jacksonville this week, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, who tweets the Jaguars are close to hiring him as OC.

The partnership is expected to take place. Urban Meyer intends to hire Bevell, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report (on Twitter). With Meyer not planning to call plays in Jacksonville, Bevell will be thrust into a crucial role with the rebuilding team — which is expected to draft Trevor Lawrence in April.

The former Seahawks and Vikings OC spent the past two years in Detroit and interviewed for the Lions HC position that went to Dan Campbell. Bevell, 51, was in the mix for the job and has been an NFL offensive coordinator in all but one season since 2006.

His most notable role came in Seattle, when Bevell served as the play-caller for the Russell Wilson– and Marshawn Lynch-centered offenses that helped the Seahawks rise to back-to-back Super Bowls. While the ending to the second of those Super Bowls brought tremendous scrutiny, Bevell remained with the Seahawks through the 2017 season.

Under Bevell in 2019, Matthew Stafford ranked sixth in QBR at the midseason point — prior to going down with a season-ending injury. The Lions ranked 20th in points and yards this season and went 1-4 under Bevell as interim HC. Detroit’s offense, however, encountered key injuries — most notably to Stafford and Kenny Golladay, who missed most of this season — in each of Bevell’s two years in charge. He is set for an interesting opportunity in Jacksonville, being tasked with developing Lawrence.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: O’Connell, Raiders, Saints

The Rams just lost their DC Brandon Staley when he took the Chargers’ head coaching job, but it doesn’t sound like they’re about to let their OC follow him out the door. We heard yesterday that Staley was interested in bringing Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell with him, but Sean McVay has other ideas. The Rams have blocked him from interviewing with the Chargers, sources told Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link), which they can do since it’s a lateral move.

O’Connell doesn’t call the plays with the Rams, McVay does, and he presumably would’ve been able to with the Chargers. McVay had previously let his former OC Matt LaFleur leave to go become the Titans’ OC when it came with play-calling responsibilities, but it sounds like he’s tired of getting his assistants poached. Breer adds the Rams “really value” O’Connell. Breer does note that things could change, but that’s the Rams’ current position. O’Connell was the OC for Washington in 2019 before he was swept out with the rest of Jay Gruden’s staff.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • Speaking of the Chargers, Staley is at least getting who he wants for one position. Los Angeles is hiring Raiders tight ends coach Frank Smith away to be their new offensive line coach and run game coordinator, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com tweets. Smith and Staley previously served on Vic Fangio’s Bears staff together, so there’s a connection there. As Gutierrez points out, Smith did a great job in helping Darren Waller blossom into one of the league’s best tight ends.
  • Smith isn’t the only assistant coach shuffling the Raiders are doing. New DC Gus Bradley is starting to flesh out his staff, and he’s hired Richard Smith and Ron Milus as his linebackers and defensive backs coaches respectively, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets. Smith and Milus held those same roles under Bradley with the Chargers previously.
  • The Lions are by all accounts planning on hiring Saints assistant Dan Campbell to be their new head coach, although notably no deal has been announced even though it’s been a couple of days now since New Orleans was bounced from the playoffs. Interim coach Darrell Bevell “earned serious consideration for the position,” and it’s possible he could get the job if talks with Campbell fell through, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Bevell was Detroit’s OC before taking over for a fired Matt Patricia. Bevell was 1-4 as interim coach, and was the Seahawks’ OC from 2011-17.
  • LSU was finalizing a deal to make Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen their new defensive coordinator, Jane Slater of NFL Network tweets. However, that hit a snag as it was reported New Orleans was blocking him from getting out of his contract. Things were resolved this morning with Nielsen being given a new three-year contract and the added title of assistant head coach to stay with the Saints, a source told Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link). With Dennis Allen getting a head coaching interview with the Eagles, Nielsen could be a candidate to eventually take over as DC as he’s apparently very highly regarded within the building.

2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-27-21 (7:05pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Lions Interview Marvin Lewis For HC

Thus far, the Lions’ GM search has generated more headlines than their hunt for a new head coach, but their HC pursuit will soon kick into high gear. Detroit started that process by interviewing longtime Bengals HC Marvin Lewis several days ago, as Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report.

[RELATED: Lions to pursue Seahawks GM John Schneider]

Lewis interviewed with the Texans for their HC vacancy last month, so the 62-year-old appears to be firmly back on the NFL radar. He currently serves as the co-defensive coordinator on Herm Edwards‘ staff at Arizona State.

The defensive acumen that he displayed while working as the Ravens’ DC from 1996-01 helped Lewis secure the Cincinnati gig in 2003, a position he held for 16 seasons. Though his 0-7 record in the postseason has garnered plenty of attention and ultimately contributed to Lewis’ ouster, the fact that he got the formerly moribund Bengals to the playoffs seven times during his tenure was in and of itself a major accomplishment.

Detroit is considering a wide variety of candidates for its HC post. Robert Saleh, the current 49ers defensive coordinator, is said to be high atop the team’s wish-list, but the Lions are also considering offensive-minded coaches. Chiefs offensive coordinator and hot commodity Eric Bieniemy is a target, as is Titans OC Arthur Smith.

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports that Saleh, Bieniemy, and interim HC Darrell Bevell are expected to interview this week (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions’ Robert Prince To Serve As Interim Interim HC

The Lions, technically speaking, are on to their third head coach of 2020. Wide receivers coach Robert Prince will man the sidelines on Saturday while interim head coach Darrell Bevell watches from afar, per the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Bevell and nearly all of the Lions’ defensive staff were classified as close contacts to a COVID-positive assistant, putting the team in uncharted waters on a short week. Four other coaches will be keeping their distance too. The shuffle will see quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan call plays for the first time in his career. For his part, Prince previously served as Boise State’s offensive coordinator. He joined the Lions in 2014 under the Jim Caldwell administration and he stands as the team’s longest-tenured assistant.

While the Bucs make their playoff push, the Lions won’t be playing for much. If the season ended today, they’d be in line for the No. 11 overall pick.

In other Lions news, future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson says he wants to continue his career in 2021. So far this year, the 35-year-old has averaged 3.7 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns.

North Notes: Bevell, Lewis, Ravens, Browns

The first Lions interim head coach in 15 years, Darrell Bevell will have five games to run the team. While it should be expected the Lions go in a different direction when they make a full-time hire in 2021, Bevell said team president Rod Wood informed him he is not out of the picture for the permanent gig, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Although Bevell was a Matt Patricia hire, the former Seahawks offensive coordinator did not join the Lions until Patricia’s second season. Prior to Bevell spending seven seasons as Seattle’s OC, he oversaw the Vikings’ Brett Favre offenses and held that job for five seasons. His latest offense ranks 20th, though it has been without Kenny Golladay for a big chunk of the season.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Mike Zimmer replaced defensive coordinator George Edwards by dividing the DC duties between his son (Adam Zimmer) and Andre Patterson. But the Vikings HC wanted a more experienced hand in the room, even before Edwards’ exit. Prior to Edwards’ 2020 departure, Mike Zimmer wanted to hire his former boss — ex-Bengals HC Marvin Lewis — as a defensive assistant, Dan Pompei of The Athletic notes (subscription required). This interest came in 2019, and Zimmer sought Lewis for a part-time role, Pompei adds. Lewis ended up on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff, in an advisory role, last year and is now the Sun Devils’ co-defensive coordinator.
  • Robert Griffin III indeed suffered a hamstring pull in the Ravens‘ Wednesday loss to the Steelers, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. He is not expected to practice when Baltimore reconvenes for workouts. The earliest Lamar Jackson could practice would be Sunday, which would give the Ravens starter one full practice and a Monday walkthrough in advance of a Tuesday return against the Cowboys. It is not known if Jackson will be ready by then, but he will be eligible to return after testing positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26.
  • The Browns will not have one of their starters for a while. They placed Ronnie Harrison on IR this week, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes the third-year safety’s shoulder injury is expected to keep him out between four and six weeks. This is a big setback for the Browns; Pro Football Focus slots Harrison as its 12th-highest-graded safety this season. Cleveland’s secondary is already down Denzel Ward, who is rehabbing a calf strain.
  • Joe Burrow underwent surgery on his injured knee Wednesday, the Bengals announced in a brief statement. The No. 1 overall pick suffered ACL and MCL tears as well as other structural damage. He is not expected to be ready to return until around the start of next season.
  • Seeking kicker insurance in the COVID-19 era, the Packers worked out Roberto Aguayo, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. The Packers, who have used Mason Crosby as their kicker since 2007, do not have a kicker on their practice squad currently. Aguayo has not caught on with a team since the Chargers cut him in 2018; the former second-round pick has not kicked in a game since his 2016 rookie season.

Lions Fire Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia

Two days after the Lions endured a Thanksgiving blowout loss, they are making major changes. The organization announced the firings of Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as interim head coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will be Bevell’s first HC opportunity.

This move is certainly not unexpected, with the Lions on track to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Ownership gave Quinn and Patricia a playoffs-or-bust-themed directive for 2020. After being routed by the Panthers and Texans over the past two weeks, the Lions are well off course.

Patricia’s ouster marks a second former Bill Belichick assistant to be fired in-season. Patricia coached against interim Texans HC Romeo Crennel on Thursday, doing so weeks after Houston canned Bill O’Brien. Patricia did not come especially close to achieving the kind of success O’Brien did and will not finish his third season. The former Patriots DC’s Lions tenure will wrap with a 13-29-1 record.

Quinn determined Jim Caldwell‘s back-to-back 9-7 seasons were not worthy of a fifth year, leading to the former Pats executive bringing in his former coworker. Although the Lions’ swoon last season could be attributed to Matthew Stafford‘s midseason injury, they have no such excuse this year. Stafford has started throughout, and the Lions will enter Week 13 at 4-7. Since Patricia’s hire, the Lions have blown an NFL-most 18 fourth-quarter leads, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter).

While Caldwell’s Lions could not build on their 11-5 2014 season, Patricia’s teams did not come close to a worthwhile follow-up effort. The longtime NFL defensive coach has seen his third Detroit defense drop to 30th in points allowed. The regression was not especially steep, with the Lions ranking 28th in defensive DVOA in 2018 and ’19.

Quinn’s firing makes for an interesting NFL GM landscape. Three jobs — in Atlanta, Detroit and Houston — are available before December. Quinn took over for Martin Mayhew in 2016; the Lions did not win 10 games in a season during his tenure.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Hire Darrell Bevell As OC

The Lions have hired Darrell Bevell as their new offensive coordinator, the team announced on Wednesday. Bevell guided the Seahawks’ offense for seven seasons and oversaw the Vikings’ attack from 2006-10. 

[RELATED: PFR’s Offensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

Bevell did not coach in 2018, but took part in some interviews during the last cycle, which included his Seattle ouster. It has been Bevell’s plan to coach in 2019, and he’s accomplished that by joining the Lions.

Bevell wasn’t necessarily known to be a leading candidate for the Lions’ job, but he either outshined other candidates or simply hung around long enough to watch the other ones sign elsewhere. Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Monken were both in the running for the job, but they’ve since hooked on with the Packers and Browns, respectively.

With Jim Bob Cooter at the helm in 2017, Matthew Stafford played some of his best football and the Lions finished out with the No. 7 scoring offense in the NFL. Last year, however, Stafford regressed hard. The Lions are hoping that Bevell will be the answer after the QB managed just 3,777 passing yards in 2018.

The Falcons and Jaguars also spoke with Bevell about their respective OC vacancies.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Bengals, Browns

In announcing Greg Roman as their new offensive coordinator, the Ravens also disclosed previous OC Marty Mornhinweg will not be returning to Baltimore in 2019. Mornhinweg, who’d been with the Ravens since 2015 and calling plays since 2016, rejected the opportunity to take another position on Baltimore’s staff. “We tried to keep Marty, but he has decided to move on, and I respect that,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a really good coach and helped us win the AFC North last season and get close to the playoffs the previous two years.” Roman had reportedly drawn OC interest from the Dolphins, which could have played a factor in his promotion from assistant head coach/tight ends.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Hue Jackson will not return to the Bengals‘ staff under presumptive new head coach Zac Taylor, Elise Jesse of WLWT was the first to report (via Twitter). Jackson, who is close friends with former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, was hired by Cincinnati at midseason, shortly after being fired as Cleveland’s head coach. Although he interviewed to succeed Lewis, Jackson was considered likely to leave the Bengals’ staff if he didn’t land the top job. While he could be in contention for offensive coordinator jobs, Jackson might have to spend 2019 as a position coach.
  • Former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is in consideration for the same role with the Bengals, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Bevell is reportedly “high on [Taylor’s] list” of possible OCs, as the rookie head coach is looking for someone with plenty of experience. The 49-year-old Bevell has interviewed for play-calling openings in both Jacksonville and Atlanta this year, but thus far hasn’t landed a job after being out of the NFL in 2018. Meanwhile, ex-Giants head coach Ben McAdoo — who recently met with the Cardinals — is a “name to watch” in Cincinnati, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).
  • The Browns have interviewed Utah offensive line coach Jim Harding for the same position, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Harding, who was previously Utah’s co-offensive coordinator from 2015-15, is considered one of the best OL coaches at the collegiate level, per Pelissero. He interviewed with the Bengals in 2018 before Cincinnati hired Frank Pollack.

South Notes: Jaguars, Bevell, Panthers, Texans

Former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will interview with Jaguars for their vacant OC job on Tuesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Bevell did not coach this year but took part in some interviews during the 2018 hiring period, which featured his Seattle ouster. It’s been Bevell’s plan to coach in 2019 and he could realize that goal if he is hired by Jacksonville.

Bevell previously interviewed for the Falcons job, but that position has already been filled by ex-Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter.

Here’s more from the South divisions:

  • Panthers head coach Ron Rivera called plays during the final month of the season and he’ll continue to do so in 2019, a source tells Joseph Person of The Athletic. Speculatively, Person wonders if that will prevent Rivera from luring a seasoned defensive coach such as Steve Wilks, who has obvious ties to the team.
  • Texans defensive star Jadeveon Clowney earned a payment of $1.005MM to resolve a dispute over the position designation for his fifth-year option, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. In the event of a franchise tag, the Texans have been planning to designate him as a linebacker, which would pay him roughly $16.3MM in 2019. However, he was pushing to be tagged as a defensive end, which pays at least $18MM. The settlement more or less splits things down the middle, which may remove one complication in tagging him or ultimately signing him to a long-term extension.