Interim Detroit Lions head coach Darrell Bevell is a candidate for permanent job

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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Add another name, a familiar one, to the list of potential candidates to replace Matt Patricia: Darrell Bevell.

Bevell, who was appointed interim head coach after the Detroit Lions fired Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday, said Monday that Lions president Rod Wood told him he could be candidate for the permanent job after the season.

“I spoke with Rod just briefly about it,” Bevell said. “It’s all about winning in this business, so I got — regardless of what happens, I get five weeks to audition for it. He said, yes, that, that would be a possibility. But like I said, the five weeks are going to be telling.”

The Lions enter the final five games with a 4-7 record and in last place in the NFC North.

The visit the Chicago Bears (5-6) this week, then play three straight games against likely playoff teams in the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before closing with a home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Bevell likely needs an impressive final month to be strongly considered for the permanent job. The Lions will entrust the hiring of their next head coach to Quinn’s replacement, assuming they maintain a typical NFL hierarchy.

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He has worked previously with several potential GM candidates, including the Seattle Seahawks duo of Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds and Vikings assistant GM George Paton.

A former offensive coordinator with the Seahawks and Vikings, Bevell turned a sputtering Lions offense into one of the NFL’s most dangerous for the first half of last season, before Matthew Stafford suffered a season-ending back injury.

This year, the Lions have underachieved offensively as Stafford has struggled with turnovers — he has eight interceptions on the season — and the group has battled injuries.

Top wide receiver Kenny Golladay has missed six games with hip and hamstring injuries, and rookie running back D’Andre Swift sat out the last two weeks with a brain injury.

Both are expected back Sunday against the Bears.

Bevell said Patricia gave him “a lot of leeway to run the offense,” but hinted that things will look different in the coming weeks.

“There’s a lot of things that are going on, on offense when you’re trying to maximize the skill sets of the guys that you have, and then the weaknesses that you have — you’re trying not to let those show up,” Bevell said. “In the last game, we did have a little fun. We were able to hit the one, reverse, triple hand-back to Matthew, and we threw it back to Matthew on another one. So we’re going to continue to try to do that. Again, like I said, it’s fun winning. It’s fun moving the ball down the field. We have playmakers, we just got to get it in their hands.”

Along with the Lions, the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans also have head coach openings, and as many as five more jobs are expected to open this winter.

Bevell said he considers the next five games an audition for those jobs, too.

“I’m taking it that way,” he said. “I did tell (players) today, I told them that, ‘Everybody’s watching.’ Everybody’s watching them, whether it’s our team, whether it’s other teams, other organizations, because everybody’s in different situations, contract situations, that kind of thing, and the game keeps moving. We got no other opportunity than just to be at our best, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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