Are the Buffalo Bills Setting Ken Dorsey Up for Success or Preparing for Him to Fail?

Since Josh Allen started his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills, Brian Daboll has been his offensive coordinator. Now that the Buffalo-native coach is helming the New York Giants franchise, Allen faces his first season with a new OC. Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Ken Dorsey is the man replacing Daboll, and with the move the franchise has made on the Bills coaching staff this season, it’s fair to ask if the club is setting Dorsey up for success or getting ready in case he fails.

Ken Dorsey brings a lot as Bills OC but doesn’t have play-calling experience

The 2022 Buffalo Bills are the Super Bowl favorite heading into the year. However, the upcoming season will feature a lot of firsts for the offense.

In addition to Josh Allen’s first season of his career without Brian Daboll in his ear on game day, it will be the first time OC Ken Dorsey has been the primary play-caller in an NFL game.

Dorsey has coached with Bills head man Sean McDermott since he joined the Carolina Panthers staff with McDermott as the defensive coordinator in 2011. He’s also coached under Daboll since 2019.

Because of all this, it stands to reason that Dorsey’s Bills offense will look a lot like the Bills offense of the last several seasons.

That said, calling plays on Sunday is a lot different than helping design an offense.

Dorsey does bring unique experience to the table as well, though. He is best-known to most football fans as the national championship-winning signal-caller from The U who led the star-studded, early 2000s Hurricanes offense that featured the likes of Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, and Frank Gore.  

On this level, he can likely relate to Allen better than most coaches as a former player who’s won on a big stage and managed highly-talented skill positions players (many with notoriously big egos).

Overall, it’s easy to see why the Bills fought so hard for Dorsey to stay and not follow Daboll to the Giants.

The lack of NFL play-calling experience has to frighten McDermott and the Bills a little, though, which is why they set up the 2022 Bills coaching staff like they have.

The Buffalo Bills coaching staff includes a lot of experienced offensive coaches 

New Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey in 2021.
Ken Dorsey | Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

The 2022 Buffalo Bills coaching staff is chock-full of offensive coaches with NFL play-calling experience. In fact, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey is one of the few coaches on that side of the ball without it.

Prior to this season, the Bills coaching staff already included tight ends coach Rob Boras. He’s been with the organization in that role since 2017. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams in 2015 and 2016 under Jeff Fischer.

This offseason, the Bills brought in a trio of offensive coaches with OC and play-calling experience.

Quarterbacks coach Joe Brady was the Carolina Panthers OC last year, and Special Offensive Assistant was Sean McDermott’s offensive counterpart (and Dorsey’s boss) with the Panthers back from 2013-17.

Finally, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer held the same position with the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton. He also served as interim head coach in 2012 when Payton served his “Bountygate” suspension. Kromer was then Chicago Bears OC in 2013-14.

With all these play-calling coaches around Dorsey, he has plenty of experience to draw from.

Whether the Bills are setting him up for success or getting ready in case he fails doesn’t really matter now. Because at this point, the team is covered in either eventuality.

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