Consistency is what we like to see in our football teams. It starts with the suits in the boardroom and works its way down to the players and staff. Not since the Buffalo Bills’ former Hall of Fame coach, Marv Levy, has there been consistency in the front office and coaching staff. With Sean Mcdermott starting his sixth season with the Bills, he’s officially the second most tenured coach in Bills history. This is great news for player development as having the same coaching staff several years in a row helps young players learn and grow without too much deviation in the way they’re trained.
The prime example is Josh Allen who came into the league a very raw prospect but through consistency in how he was coached he’s become one of the top Quarterbacks in the league. Allen had help from former the Buffalo Bills’ former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll whose pass first offense had him learning on his feet. However, another tool in the development of Josh Allen is (former) Quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey who has now taken over the role as OC from Daboll. This leads to the biggest question on everyone’s mind, how different will this Bills offense look?
Buffalo Bills, Ken Dorsey’s Past
Ken Dorsey started his career as a remarkable college quarterback who transitioned to a less remarkable NFL quarterback. He spent time on the 49ers, Browns and Toronto Argonauts before hanging up his cleats in 2011. Soon after he retired, he was hired by the Carolina Panthers as a scout before working his way up to quarterback’s coach. In that role, he was seen as a “quarterback’s QB Coach” and was partially responsible for Cam Newton’s 2015 MVP performance.
After Newton’s decline, he was fired along with Don Shula in what was the beginning of a house cleaning that led to the firing of Ron Rivera a year later. Since then, he spent time in a brief stint as the assistant director of athletics at Florida International University before being hired by the Buffalo Bills in 2019 to help the development of Josh Allen.
Then in 2020, Josh Allen had his breakout year where he defied expectations (non-Bills fan’s expectations) and critics alike with an astonishing third-year leap. Allen’s huge stride forward had people all over the NFL trying to figure out just how he did it. Some teams thought Dorsey was a big factor in Allen’s success as he was getting interest from a few teams for their offensive coordinator position.
Ken Dorsey decided to stay with the Buffalo Bills and was promoted to a larger role in the offense as a Passing Game Coordinator shortly before the 2021 season. As PSG for the Bills, his effect was felt as the offense stepped up their passing attempts by 10% over the previous season. The Bills also ran a three WR set during 71% of their snaps (5th most in the NFL). He fit well enough into the role that when Brian Daboll decided to take his talents to the Giants as their new head coach it was an easy enough switch for the Buffalo Bills to place Dorsey in the role of OC.
If Dorsey was to be compared to someone else in the Buffalo Bills’ history, I would pick offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda. Like Dorsey, Marchibroda spent a few unremarkable years playing quarterback before transitioning to an assistant, then offensive coordinator to finally a head coach. During his time as an offensive coordinator for the Bills, his faith in Jim Kelly and belief in a strong passing game helped create the famous “K gun” offense.
Ken Dorsey’s Future
Like Marchibroda, Dorsey also believes in a pass first offense. We already know he believes in Josh Allen and his ability to make calls on the field as Allen had greater autonomy last year to change the play at the line. It’s entirely likely Dorsey might go the route of his forebear and give Josh even more freedom to make play calls essentially creating an “A gun” offense. Alternatively, it’s also possible that given last year’s souped-up passing game he might want to try pushing for a little more out of the running game.
Being that it’s his first year as an OC it’s hard to be sure what to expect. However, for what it’s worth the last two years with Josh Allen leading the charge on the field and Daboll and Dorsey in his ear the Buffalo Bills have been a top 5 offense. For Dorsey, there’s not too much that needs to be corrected and the old adage still rings true ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.