From all indications, Darrell Bevell was the top-target in Pete Carroll’s search for a new offensive coordinator. Citing philosophical differences, Carroll fired Jeremy Bates on Tuesday and immediately got to work searching for a new offensive coordinator. A day later, Darrell Bevell was brought in for an interview and was reportedly offered the job.
What does Bevell bring to the table, though? How does his philosophy mesh with Carroll’s goals for the Seahawks offense? We dug into his past to try and figure out what Bevell is all about.
Playing career: Bevell attended the University of Wisconsin, where he was a four-year starter at quarterback. In his second year in Madison, Bevell led the Badgers to a 10-1-1 record and a Rose Bowl win. Along the way, he rewrote the record books at Wisconsin, racking up impressive passing statistics during his four years at the helm. Despite his prolific career, he wasn’t drafted, and immediately moved into the coaching ranks.
Coaching career: Bevell started from the bottom and worked his way up as a coach. His career began at Westmar College, a small school in Iowa. After one year running the passing game at Westmar, he became a graduate assistant at Iowa State before moving on to coach the receivers at Connecticut. Again he rose fast, moving up to the NFL in 2000 and spending six years as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach in Green Bay. In 2006, he got his big break with the Minnesota Vikings when he was hired as the offensive coordinator.
Philosophy: When Pete Carroll said he was looking for balance, Bevell’s name should’ve immediately shot to mind. We do know Bevell wants to pound the ball, which falls in line with what Carroll strives for. Thumbing through quotes from Bevell’s tenure with the Vikings reveals a philosophy predicated on a power rushing attack: hit the opponent in the mouth, let it open the passing game, then take shots.
The only problem with the early part of his career in Minnesota was the lack of a quarterback that could open the offense up. Brad Johnson, a young Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte weren’t exactly world beaters for the Vikings.
It’s worth noting that Bevell was also coaching under Brad Childress, who had partial control, at the very least, of the Vikings offense.
Results: From 2006-2009, the Minnesota offense steadily improved each year, growing more efficient and successful along the way. See the Vikings’ handy offensive statistics chart documenting the improvement of the offense from 2006-2009 under Bevell. For another look at the offense, here is the statistics from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 (via Pro Football Reference).
It’s not as simple as pointing to the stats and calling Bevell a solid coordinator, though. There is, of course, the matter of personnel involved. From Adrian Peterson to Brett Favre, the Minnesota offense saw a talent infusion during Bevell’s time with the Vikings, and the offense benefited because of it.
It’s easy to run the ball when you’ve got Adrian Peterson manning the backfield. In 2007, the Vikings drafted Peterson and watched him make an immediate impact in Bevell’s run-happy offense. In 2009, the Minnesota offense took another big step forward, coinciding with the addition of Brett Favre under center. In that regard, it’s hard to judge how much of the success was from Bevell’s scheme and how much was due to the personnel involved, though the two go hand-in-hand as the offensive coordinator must tailor his scheme to the talent involved.
Overall: The Seahawks are in the midst of a transition as they work to find and develop another quarterback while preparing for Matt Hasselbeck’s inevitable departure in the somewhat near-future. Bevell not only comes as an offensive coordinator, but also has experience working with quarterbacks at the NFL-level.
The goal here is clear: boost the run game, develop a quarterback and at least provide some semblance of balance in an offense that’s relied far too heavily on Hasselbeck’s arm. Bevell’s philosophy fits that, but now we have to wait and see if he can get it done with the personnel available.