Brian Daboll’s experience, versatility already on display at Bills’ OTAs


As the offseason progresses for the Buffalo Bills, so does the installation of new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s scheme. It is an offense that will be much more diverse than what Buffalo ran under Daboll’s predecessor, Rick Dennison, in 2017. This year, the Bills’ system will likely feature a wide array of run and pass concepts that can be drastically different from week-to-week, based on their opponent. Daboll acknowledged this, stating that his scheme was ‘ever-changing.’

Good coordinators know how to gameplan for different opponents. Just look at Bill Belichick and the success that the New England Patriots enjoy. Buffalo will have a core set of concepts that they ‘hang their hat on’ but they’ll add wrinkles and different packages to provide a new look to an opponent. Visually, things may look completely different, but the main concept plays to the strength of the personnel and stays in line with the strategy by which Daboll wants to attack the defense that week.

Brian Daboll & multiple plans of attack

When watching film from Daboll’s 2017 season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, his willingness to switch his methods of attack from game to game was immediately evident. One week, Daboll would employ outside zone or pin and pull concepts to test an opposing defense’s discipline and athleticism that is something that when you turn on the film of Daboll’s time down at Alabama was clearly evident. Certain weeks he would employ outside zone or pin and pull concepts to test the discipline and athleticism of the defensive front.  Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Georgia.

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In other weeks such as when the Tide faced off versus Florida State or Clemson, Daboll utilized more powerful run concepts such as inside zone. Inside zone and split flow run concepts are aimed at getting vertical movement along the line of scrimmage. This is a great strategy to use against those defenses because of the vast amount of athletes and team speed they possess.


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Daboll’s attention to detail was spectacular and is a testament to the overall preparation that he instills in his team. It’s obvious that he’s spent time under quality coaches with successful organizations and his experience shows up both in the diversity of his playbook, but how his practices are conducted also.

Coaches only have so much time to teach, to coach. So in order to have an “expansive playbook”, you have to be laser-focused on your opponent and be well aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to successfully atack them. But more importantly, knowing how to run an efficient practice can be more important than simply knowing the “X’s and O’s.”  A clear mission or gameplan must be in place to operate.

Learning under the best

Brian Daboll’s time with Coach Saban and the student-athletes at Alabama was a tremendous learning experience. It exposed him to how the greatest college coach of all-time managed his organization, but more importantly, he witnessed first-hand how he dealt with his student-athletes. Those players represent a generation of athletes that were likely exposed to an abundance of spread concepts, were coached differently, learned differently and whose football IQ’s are still a work in progress. Players that Daboll will need to devise plays for and coach up on Sundays.

The St Francis High graduate appears to be a great match for Sean McDermott and his staff’s overall coaching philosophy. He is very process oriented, has a clear vision for his offense and that can even be seen this early in OTAs. Daboll isn’t running practice with the intent on just establishing clear-cut starters, this is the time to evaluate. So fans shouldn’t be too concerned on where guys are slotted on the depth chart at this moment. He even referred to it as more of a “rep chart”. So while the starting five offensive lineman at practice today was: Dion Dawkins, Vladimir Ducasse, Russell Bodine, John Miller and Jordan Mills, left to right, we shouldn’t take too much stock in it.

His plan is to get guys experience at several positions, such as experimenting with newly signed free agent Marshall Newhouse at right guard rather than at right tackle, where he has his most experience. Daboll wants to test their mental and physical capacity across several positions. A method to not only evaluate the players but to get help them better understand their teammates’ jobs, which will, in turn, help them understand the offense as a whole. Another great strategy employed by the Bills’ first-year coordinator.

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