Is Ken Dorsey in line to replace Brian Daboll as Bills OC in 2022?

07/16/2021
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On Wednesday, WGR550’s Sal Capaccio tweeted that at some point during the offseason, Ken Dorsey was promoted to Passing Game Coordinator, a move that was not made public in any way by the Buffalo Bills during the offseason. While not a publicized move, the promotion in and of itself should come as no surprise to those that follow the team. 

Early in the 2021 offseason, Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was a hot name being mentioned for several head coaching positions throughout the NFL. It seemed like a deal was all but done with the Los Angeles Chargers, but the Bills’ success in the 2020 postseason prevented Daboll from officially being hired and the team quickly pivoted to a new candidate, hiring Brandon Staley to be their new head coach instead. 

With all the rumors and speculation of Daboll seemingly being destined for greater things outside of Buffalo, there was also the same level of speculation and rumors among Bills fans about who would eventually replace him as the team’s offensive coordinator of the future. While Daboll is locked in for 2021, the promotion of Dorsey to a coordinator role clearly indicates that Buffalo isn’t anticipating the same for 2022. 

Dorsey is a logical fit as Daboll’s successor and while he may not have the play-calling experience that Daboll brought to the table when he was hired in 2018, he’s been a well-respected quarterback coach for quite some time now. He served in the same capacity with the Carolina Panthers before joining the Bills. Dorsey might seem like an unusual candidate to take over such a prolific offense without having a lot of experience, but head coach Sean McDermott’s hiring habits do not seem to focus too much on experience anymore.

When McDermott was first brought on in 2017, he hired a lot of coaches with a lot of experience. Some, such as defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and tight end coach Rob Boras, have stayed on with the team. Others, like former offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, and offensive line coach Juan Castillo, did not last. It seems that as McDermott grows more comfortable in being the head coach, he values culture fits more than sheer experience in his coaching hires. Bobby Johnson (offensive line), Chad Hall (wide receivers) and Heath Farwell (special teams) were brought on and immediately brought a different energy to One Bills Drive. 

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Ken Dorsey is interesting because he brings a mix of youth and experience to the team. He was one of the most successful quarterbacks in NCAA history during his collegiate career with the Miami Hurricanes before beginning his career as an NFL journeyman. He was originally hired as a scout with the Panthers, before taking over as their quarterback coach – where he helped groom a young Cam Newton, one of the only NFL players who could match Josh Allen’s physical traits and gifts

And that certainly was a piece of the Bills’ thought process when they hired Dorsey as their quarterback coach in 2019. Allen was a notoriously raw prospect coming out of Wyoming, and quarterback is a notoriously difficult position to learn at any level, much less in the NFL. But Dorsey’s experience working with Newton, and his as a quarterback himself, brought a massive wealth of knowledge to Allen and the Bills that was desperately needed at the time.

The returns on investing in Dorsey have paid off as Allen has improved in both 2019 and 2020, not only statistically, but also mechanically and mentally. Allen processes the field better, throws the ball better, and moves his feet in the pocket better than even some of his biggest pre-draft fans could have imagined he would at this point in his career. A lot of credit can be given to a lot of people for Allen’s improvement, and Ken Dorsey is definitely high on that list.

While Ken Dorsey certainly may not be the most experienced, his own time as a quarterback, and an additional year in 2021 as passing game coordinator under Daboll should help him transition much more smoothly and easily to the offensive coordinator role that he appears to be destined for in the 2022 NFL season.

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