What Is Darell Bevell's Background and Could He Help the Arizona Cardinals?
Potential head coaching candidates have now come and gone in Arizona. Andy Reid decided his best fit was in Kansas City, while Mike McCoy decided he wanted to head to San Diego with Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers.
Other potential candidates, Ray Horton, Todd Haley and Jay Gruden have all interviewed with team president Michael Bidwill, but the Cardinals organization doesn't seem to be in a big hurry. Obviously they want to explore all avenues before making a hire, so it is wise for them to continue their search until they are 100 percent certain that they have found their man.
An offensive minded coach seems to be what ownership is looking for considering they have interviewed one defensive minded coach and five offensive minded coaches. Based on what we know today, we can add one more offensive minded coach to the head coaching search.
Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is scheduled to interview for the position today in Arizona. His interview was confirmed by Cardinals beat reporter Kent Somers:
Somers (@kentsomers) January 16, 2013
With that being said, let's examine Bevell by breaking down where he came from and what he could possibly bring to the Arizona Cardinals.
After his collegiate playing days were over in 1995, he went on to be a low-level college coach at Westmar University in 1996. He spent one-year there and eventually moved on to Iowa State in 1997 where he was a graduate assistant for the football team. Like Westmar, he only spent one season at Iowa State and later moved on to the University of Connecticut.
At Connecticut, Bevell was the wide receivers coach from 1998-1999. After a two-year stint on the East Coast, he moved back to the Midwest and took his first NFL job under head coach Mike Sherman as an offensive assistant. He was an assistant from 2000-2002 and then was finally made a positional coach in 2003 when he was promoted to quarterbacks coach.
Consequently his run with the Packers ended in 2005 when Sherman was fired. However, that didn't keep Bevell out of a job long. Long-time friend and former coach, Brad Childress, came a calling when he became the Minnesota Vikings head coach in 2006.
Childress would give him the opportunity he had been waiting for—the opportunity to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL. While in Minnesota, Bevell ran with the opportunity as a play caller. His offenses slowly evolved and got better with time.
In his first year, the Vikings only had the 23rd best ranked offense, but he managed to squeeze 1,216 yards rushing out of Chester Taylor. He was limited at the quarterback position because of Brad Johnson, so only so much could have been expected.
The following year Minnesota improved greatly after drafting running back Adrian Peterson and inserting 2006 second-round pick Tarvaris Jackson into the lineup. The Vikings went on to finish 8-8 while having the 13th best offense in the league.
One-year later they went on to make the playoffs at 10-6 while sporting one of the top scoring offenses at 23.7 points per game. Impressive considering Gus Frerotte was their starting quarterback for 11-of-16 games.
Then in 2009, the Brett Favre trained rolled into town and Minnesota had its best season in 11 years. As an offense they scored 470 points, piled up 6,074 yards and finished the season with the NFL's fifth best offense based on yardage.
Yet the enjoyable run came to an end in 2010, when Childress was fired as head coach. After 2010, Bevell was relieved of his duties when Leslie Frazier did not renew his contract.
In 2011, Bevell's backfield ran for 1,756 yards and 15 touchdowns. Those numbers grew even larger in 2012 when the 'Hawks run game imposed its will on opposing defenses to the tune of 2,579 yards—the third best mark in the league.
Moreover, he has been highly publicized as playing a key role in Russell Wilson's development.
Which leads me to the most important question, could he help the Arizona Cardinals if he was named head coach? Absolutely. Bevell has been apart of a few teams that have had a top-tier offense at one point or another.
He has also proven that when he is given talent at the quarterback position, his offenses deliver time and time again. Even without an "elite" quarterback, he managed to squeeze a playoff appearance and a top-15 offense out of Frerotte.
Above is a list that pertains to where his offenses have finished since becoming an offensive coordinator in the NFL.
The proof of his offenses doing well with sometimes less than impressive quarterback talent goes to show that he could ultimately help the Cardinals and their quarterback situation. His offenses' are primarily predicated around the West Coast principles, but since coming to the Pacific Northwest he has added a few wrinkles of his own.
The subtle wrinkles have helped Wilson thrive into a successful quarterback that could easily be viewed as one of the premier up and comers.
Not to mention the West Coast offense was what helped Kevin Kolb land his monster contract in the desert. All of the underlying details are something to think about when reflecting on a potential hire for Arizona.
By no means are the Cardinals stuck with Kolb, but if management does indeed want him to succeed they should hire an offensive minded coach who has had past fortunes with "non-elite" quarterbacks.
Any quarterbacks best friend is a coach who is an excellent play caller and teacher, just ask Russell Wilson:
"Well, Coach Bevell was a tremendous coach and he does a tremendous job of just leading our football team in terms of our offense," Wilson said during his new conference this week, via the Chicago Tribune.
"His knowledge of the game, his enthusiasm that he brings, his work ethic, he's always here early, always leaving late, he obviously has a love for the game, and he's young. Not too many people can do that at a high level the way he does it. He's coached a lot of great players in his time."
He has indeed coached a lot of great players, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Cardinals pull the trigger and name him the 39th head coach in their storied history.
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