Chicago Bears Head Coaching Candidate Darrell Bevell: 5 Questions with 12th Man Rising


Dec 1, 2011; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears head coaching search is just about wrapped up and we’re down to three finalists: Marc Trestman, Bruce Arians, and dark horse candidate Darrell Bevell, the offensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks.  He’s worked wonders with Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense this season, which makes him a hot candidate.  I reached out to friend Keith Meyers, editor of 12th Man Rising to get some inside scoop on Bevell.  Here are my questions and Keith’s answers: 

1. I heard that Bevell was on the hot seat a bit early in the season as the Seahawks offense struggled out of the gate. What did he do to turn the season around for the Seahawks offense?

Bevell wasn’t on the hot seat. Fans hate offensive play callers. It’s what they do. Many Seattle fans hated Mike Holmgren’s play calling. It’s just silly nonsense.

As for what turned things around for Seattle, there was 2 things, and Bevell was really only one of them. The first was that the light really turned on for Russell Wilson. He wasn’t seeing open receivers and seemed lost in the first month of the season. Then suddenly all his hard work in the film room clicked and and he became one the league’s best QBs.

On Bevell’s end, he did what he’s always done. He innovated and found ways to get the most out of the talent he had. In this case, it was his take on the read-option. The Seahawks ran it out of a lot different set that really put pressure on the defense to read and react. His version was quite different from what you’d see being run in Carolina or Washington, and often left a LB unblocked rather than the DE. Team simply has a tough time preparing for what the Seahawks were going to do.

2. Russell Wilson has had a pretty impressive rookie season. What has Bevell been able to do to turn

Dec 2, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson into a Rookie of the Year Candidate?

Bevell did a good job evaluating what Wilson was ready for early on. The first few games, that wasn’t much. Limiting the game plan kept things simple and made sure Wilson didn’t turn the ball over a lot. As the year went on, the playbook became bigger and bigger for Wilson. Bevell pushed him at just the right level so the team could succeed without overwhelming the rookie passer.

3. What kind of a coach is Bevell? Is he a player’s coach or more of a disciplinarian?

He’s more of a player’s coach. The guys really respect him. Sydney Rice followed Bevell to Seattle more than anything else. Rice really wanted to continue playing for him. I think that says a lot. He’s also an Xs and Os coach, and a very good one.

4. How do you think Bevell would fit in with the Bears personnel? Do you think he could turn Cutler around?

Bevell normally run a variant of the West Coast Offense. His natural offense is very similar to what Green Bay runs, as that is his coaching pedigree. He hasn’t had the players to run that offense in either Minnesota or Seattle, and has adapted. He featured Percy Harvin in Minnesota, and ran the read-option in Seattle.

Bevell is the type of coach who will look at the players he has and find ways to put them in a position to be successful. Even if he has to re-invent his own playbook to do so. I have no idea what he’ll do to “fix” Cutler, but I do think he can if given the opportunity.

Nov 13, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli prior to a game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

5. Do you think Bevell would keep Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and the remnants of Lovie Smith’s defense or would he scrap the old system in favor of his own?

I honestly don’t know. Bevell is an offensive coach, and I don’t know what defense he prefers.

I’d have to think that, given the quality of the defensive roster and the age of most of the players, that it would be mistake to change to a new defensive system in Chicago right now. I think that’s why they’re interviewing offensive coaches. I have to think that keeping the defense in tact has to be part of what the Bear’s front office is looking for, but that’s just my opinion.

Thanks to Keith.  Head over to 12th Man Rising and cheer him up – he’s still reeling from that loss to the Falcons.