| Detroit Free Press
Can Detroit Lions get another Bevell Bounce vs. Green Bay Packers?
The guys make their prediction for Sunday’s Detroit Lions game against the Green Bay Packers.
When Aaron Rodgers slipped in the 2005 NFL draft, past the No. 1 spot, out of the top 10 and all the way to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24, then-Packers quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell could not believe his luck.
Bevell, now the Detroit Lions’ interim head coach, had Rodgers rated the No. 1 quarterback in the draft — ahead of top pick Alex Smith — and pegged the Cal gunslinger as a future NFL star.
Fifteen years later, with Rodgers in the running for his third NFL MVP award, Bevell’s assessment could not have been any more spot on.
“You’re probably going to think it’s easy to say, but absolutely I did (think he would turn out to be this good),” Bevell said Thursday. “I remember breaking down the draft that year and Aaron was my top-rated guy for us there. I don’t know how we had him rated as a team, won’t talk about that. But as far as how I had them, Aaron was the No. 1 guy.
“I saw him as a guy that would be able to come in and play right away if he needed to. We were so far down in the draft, didn’t think that was going to be a possibility for us. But I thought if you were a team picking early, that he would definitely be a guy that could help you.”
Rodgers sat most of his first three seasons in Green Bay, but has barely come off the field since.
He replaced legendary quarterback Brett Favre as starter in 2008, led the Packers to a Super Bowl championship three seasons later and won MVP awards in 2011 and 2014.
This season, Rodgers leads the NFL with 36 touchdown passes and a 118.5 passer rating, and if he beats his old quarterbacks coach Sunday at Ford Field, the Packers (9-3) can clinch their second straight NFC North title.
“All of the skill sets that he had (coming out of the draft), I think they’re showing up every single day,” Bevell said. “I think he’s playing as well as any quarterback that’s ever played in this league.”
Bevell and Rodgers spent just one season together in Green Bay — Bevell left to become offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings when Mike Sherman’s staff was fired after the 2005 season — but their respect appears to be mutual.
Bevell said he and Rodgers hit it off as the “newer guys” living in Favre’s illustrious shadow, and he joked that when he went to Minnesota, “I don’t think the relationship was very good anymore, understandably…, right?”
Rodgers told ESPN this week that Bevell helped him change how he held the ball during his dropbacks. At Cal, Rodgers held the ball near the ear hole in his helmet, higher than he does today.
“At Cal, we were very robotic in the way that we dropped (and) obviously the way I held the football,” Rodgers told ESPN. “So being able to — naturally, on my own — lower the ball to where I was throwing it at Butte College and in high school and to learn to tie my feet with the routes was my first important lesson in the league, and I do appreciate Darrell’s help with that.”
Bevell shared a story Thursday of cougar hunteding in Utah with Favre a few years back. The two rode horses for 18 miles, Bevell said, and then jumped in a car to track “just a beautiful cougar,” which Favre was unsuccessful landing with his bow and arrow.
Bevell did not have any tales as colorful about Rodgers, but he said their year together “was a great experience for me.”
“Obviously, have a ton of respect for him,” Bevell said. “Everything that he’s doing, really as I said, is not a surprise to me. I got to see his work ethic firsthand, got to see how smart he was. Obviously, I understood some of the skill sets from watching him on tape and then watching him practice.
I mean, his accuracy, his ability to move, the way his mind is, that he thinks and is able to get in and out of things and get yourself in the best play. So yeah, it was a great time working with him.”
Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell on time with Aaron Rodgers
Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell Dec. 10, 2020, on what he thought of Aaron Rodgers coming in the NFL. Bevell spent years with the Packers.