With the addition of Steve Wilks, and coming off his introductory press conference, it seems as though the offensive coordinator position is down to two men.
While they could get a handshake deal done with John DeFilippo and announce his signing on February 5th, the press conference seemed to say that Darrell Bevell or Mike McCoy would be the offensive coordinator of the Cardinals moving forward.
We know the bellyaching that came from Seattle Seahawks fans when it came to Bevell, but was it warranted?
Could his run first, run second and run most philosophy be a nice fit with what Wilks wants to do in Arizona?
Let’s take a look at Bevell through the years.
2006 – Bevell’s first year as an offensive coordinator, he inherited the 26th ranked offense according to Football Outsiders DVOA and made it worse, dropping the Vikings, led by Chester Taylor and Brad Johnson, to 31st in offensive DVOA.
2007 – Drafting rookie running back Adrian Peterson, turning to Tavaris Jackson as the quarterback, the Vikings offense moved up to 16th in offensive DVOA, but had the number three rushing attack according to FO. That was up from 22 the year before. Maybe more impressively, with Jackson taking over at QB, the Vikings progressed from 31st in passing to 22nd. Their top receiver was Bobby Wade, that’s why the move up was impressive. The strength of the offense was clearly the running game, as rookie Adrian Peterson (1,341) and Chester Taylor (844) combined for nearly 2200 rushing yards.
2008 – Gus Frerotte would be the next quarterback of the Vikings and it didn’t matter. The Vikings finished 10-6 and road Adrian Peterson to 1,760 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Their top receiver? Bobby Wade. Despite Peterson, the offensive DVOA fell to 25th, maybe a quarterback was needed.
2009 - A quarterback? A quarterback! Brett Favre threw for 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, Adrian Peters ran for 1,383 yards and 18 touchdowns and added 43 catches for 436 yards. Sidney Rice had 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns and the Vikings finished eighth in offensive DVOA for the season.
2010 – Things went south in 2010, the quarterback position again became an issue and the Vikings, behind 1,298 yards and 12 touchdowns from Adrian Peterson dropped to 27th in offensive DVOA.
2011 – Moving to Seattle and the Seahawks, Bevell took the Seahawks offense from 29th to 22nd, behind a strong run game with Marshawn Lynch, but the problem was the quarterback position.
2012 – Rookie Russell Wilson steps in and the Seahawks vault to the fourth ranked offense according to DVOA, including the top rushing attack, as Marshawn Lynch has 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Seahawks as a team rush for 2,579 yards, third most in the NFL.
2013 – Russell Wilson improves on his Pro Bowl rookie year, throwing for 3,357 yards, 26 touchdowns to only nine interceptions and Marshawn Lynch runs for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Seahawks roll to their first Super Bowl with Football Outsiders seventh ranked offensive DVOA.
2014 – The beginning of the end for Bevell, as he is lambasted for his Super Bowl blunder of calling a pass on the goal line with a chance to win the game for the Seahawks. Despite the Hawks finishing fifth in offensive DVOA, including being the top rushing offense again per Football Outsiders, the time in the sun is fading for Bevell.
2015 – Russell Wilson explodes for his first 4,000 yard season, throws 34 touchdowns to only eight interceptions and little known Thomas Rawls runs for 830 yards and six touchdowns on only 147 carries, good enough for 5.6 yards per attempt, finishing atop the DVOA mountain offensively for the first time. It didn’t stop Seahawks fans from being ready to move on from Bevell.
2016 and 2017 – The wheels have come off. With no running game to speak of and mounting issues along the offensive line, the Seahawks offense stumbles to 16th in offensive DVOA in 2016 and 14th in 2017.
Despite the foundation planted and subsequent growth of Russell Wilson at the quarterback position, Wilson’s numbers improved every year except for 2016, Bevell’s shine had worn off. His offenses began to falter and the mistakes of 2014 had caught up. A two-time winning Super Bowl offensive coordinator has much more rope than a one-time winner who made one of the most baffling calls of all-time in the Super Bowl.
Here are some amazing numbers from Bevell the OC though.
Bevell’s offenses have finished inside the top ten of rushing in 7 of 12 seasons as an OC and 16th or higher in 9 of 12 seasons.
Bevell’s offenses have finished inside the top ten in scoring in 5 of 12 seasons and inside the top 15 in 8 of 12 seasons.
Compare that to newly departed Bruce Arians’ offenses and you’ll see something striking…
Arians offenses have finished top ten in scoring 3 out of 14 years as an OC or HC. They’ve finished inside the top 15 in 5 of 14.
Arians clearly favored the pass, while Bevell likes to run the ball and pick his spots to throw, but one thing is clear, Bevell’s offense can score just as, and actually more, than Arians.
This isn’t an endorsement of Bevell, these are the numbers he comes with. If Steve Wilks wants to get to running the football, with his newly appointed offensive line coach Ray Brown in tow, maybe Bevell is the right choice.