Bills fire OC Ken Dorsey, name Joe Brady interim replacement

Bills fire OC Ken Dorsey, name Joe Brady interim replacement

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Bills fire OC Ken Dorsey, name Joe Brady interim replacement
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills made a big change amid a downward turn to a season trending below expectations Tuesday, firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and naming quarterbacks coach Joe Brady as his interim replacement.

Coach Sean McDermott emphasized that the decision was reached due to a desire to have increased confidence and energy and to “find consistent production.”

The move came hours after Buffalo’s loss to the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football,” as the Bills turned the ball over four times and had a season-high four drops. But Dorsey’s firing also comes as a response for a Bills team that sits at 5-5, falling out of the playoff picture in a competitive AFC and with the hardest strength of schedule remaining, according to ESPN Analytics.

“There’s been times when we have moved the ball and scored points, but those times, I believe, have become few and far between,” McDermott said Tuesday afternoon. “I can point to the Miami game [in Week 4], which I felt very good about, obviously, we scored on just about, if not every, drive there. But since that Miami game, and really, before that, there were some times when I didn’t feel like we were moving the ball well enough and scoring points.

“So, it’s just — it’s the whole thing, right? The whole body of work. It’s not just off of two games or four games. It’s the entire season at this point.”

Dorsey was elevated to Buffalo’s offensive coordinator in 2022 when his predecessor, Brian Daboll, was hired as the head coach of the New York Giants. Dorsey previously served as the Bills’ quarterbacks coach and was endorsed by star quarterback Josh Allen for the job when Daboll departed.

But under Dorsey’s time as offensive coordinator, the Bills have struggled to find offensive consistency and put together drives, with 21% of drives ending in a turnover since Week 5, last in the NFL (after 12% ended in a turnover through the first four games). Buffalo’s offense has not scored more than 25 points since Week 4 and turnovers have been a major issue, especially for Allen, who leads the NFL with 14 turnovers and 11 interceptions.

“Josh and I speak daily. And this decision was made by me alone [to fire Dorsey],” McDermott said. “Beyond that, it’s Josh’s responsibility and job to come out and help Coach Brady formulate the game plan and to come out and execute the game plan and take care of the football and be our offense more than anything.”

Allen’s turnovers are two more than the next closest players (Desmond Ridder and Mac Jones) and his 33 turnovers since Dorsey became coordinator are six more than the next player (Trevor Lawrence).

Statistically, the Bills’ offense looks among the best in the NFL, ranking third in offensive EPA per play, second in completion percentage (70.3%) and third in yards per play (6.0). But the reality for the Bills is that performing at a high level wasn’t consistently happening despite a relatively healthy offense, and frustration was clearly building since the offense took a turn for the worse after Week 5.

After eye-popping offensive performances from Weeks 2-4, when they put up at least 37 points in each game, scoring points — specifically in the first half — became a problem. That resulted in the Bills getting behind early and often.

Since Week 5, the Bills’ offense has scored an average of seven points per game in the first halves (fourth fewest). It had a league-high eight turnovers in the first two quarters of those games and leads the league with 13 turnovers since Week 5.

Buffalo’s top players also have had up-and-down performances. The Bills and Allen entered the season talking about wanting to minimize the hits he took and for the two-time Pro Bowler to be smarter with the football. In reality, that seemed to take away from Allen’s effectiveness, especially when the threat of him running as often was not something opposing defenses had to account for.

Splash plays also were limited, with Allen throwing 10 interceptions on throws of 10 or more air yards (tied with Jordan Love for the most this season). He has completed 15 of 38 passes (39.5%, 22nd) of 15 or more air yards since Week 6.

“Just some of the new energy around our offense, my hope is, and my aim is that it will create a little bit of confidence, clarity and ability to anticipate, as opposed to in some cases react,” McDermott said. “And I think that’s what a part of playing the quarterback position is all about.”

McDermott has also discussed wanting to have the threat of a running game be part of the offense. But that hasn’t found consistency, either, with Buffalo rushing for less than 100 yards in three of its past six games.

That said, Bills running back James Cook is coming off a 109-yard performance against the Broncos.

There has also been an emphasis on complementary football with the defense, and while the defense made adjustments despite significant injuries, the Bills have the third-worst starting field position margin since Week 5 (-5.9).

Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs started the season with five 100-yard receiving performances in his first six games. He has not had one since and is coming off a season-low performance Monday, with just three receptions for 34 yards on five targets.

Prior to working with Dorsey, Allen had Daboll as his offensive coordinator for the first four years of his career.

Brady has offensive coordinator experience from his time with the Carolina Panthers (2020-21) before being fired during the 2021 season under Matt Rhule. McDermott said the team is still sorting through the logistics of a new quarterbacks coach and where Brady will be on game days.

“Some of this is a projection and also want to see what [Brady] can do in this role,” McDermott said. “He has a close relationship with Josh as the quarterback coach, and we’ve talked … he’s got some ideas and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

Before his time with the Panthers, Brady was the passing game coordinator at LSU in 2019, when Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to the national championship.

“Joe’s awesome. Joe’s very creative,” Burrow said Tuesday. “He always has something for a certain look that you’re seeing on tape to take advantage of that. It’s a big opportunity for him. I’m excited for him. He helped me become the player I am today, so nothing but love for Joe.”


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Bills fire OC Ken Dorsey, name Joe Brady interim replacement

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