Here's the Bills news of note for Friday Jan. 20th.
1 - Super Bowl credentialsAs a first time head coach, Sean McDermott was determined to surround himself with a staff of assistants that had experience and a proven track record of being teachers who could develop players. Nowhere was this more important than at offensive coordinator.
On Thursday evening veteran coach Rick Dennison agreed to terms to be the Bills offensive play caller.
Dennison comes to Buffalo with a wealth of experience with 22 years at the NFL level. He's coached special teams, quarterbacks, the offensive line, but has been an offensive coordinator for a combined nine seasons between the Denver Broncos (2006-08; 2015-16) and Houston Texans (2010-2013).
Perhaps most important is the fact that he was a three-time AFC champion as a linebacker for the Broncos during a nine-year playing career, and a three-time Super Bowl champion as a coach with Denver, including Super Bowl 50 last year.
In his introductory press conference, McDermott talked about knowing what success looks like, smells like and tastes like because he's experienced it first hand. His new offensive coordinator clearly has a firm working knowledge of what it takes to not only win consistently, but contend and win Super Bowl titles perenially.
**2 - Alexander is AFC East Defensive MVP
**The accolades continue to roll in for Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander after his impressive 2016 season. ESPN.com's AFC East reporters voted Alexander the AFC East Defensive MVP. Buffalo's veteran leader got two of the four votes, with the only dissenting votes going to Miami DE Cameron Wake and New England CB Malcolm Butler.
Dolphins beat reporter James Walker offered the following with his vote for Alexander.
Alexander had the most impressive individual season. He led the Bills and the division with 12.5 sacks in addition to 76 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception. Alexander, 33, came out of nowhere to produce a Pro Bowl season.
Jets beat reporter Rich Cimini gave Alexander the nod as well.
*This was an aberration for Alexander, who recorded more sacks this season (12.5) than he did in his first nine seasons combined, but so what? Let's give the man his props. *
3 – Bills free agents ranked among top 50 in NFLESPN's John Clayton ranked the top 50 free agents this offseason and three Bills made the list.
Buffalo has a league-high 24 unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason, and Clayton selected Zach Brown, Stephon Gilmore and Robert Woods for his rankings.
Gilmore was highest on the rankings, coming in at 13th on the list. Gilmore has spent five seasons with the Bills and set a career-high in interceptions in 2016 with five. He also totaled 48 tackles and defended 12 passes.
"The Bills might have to franchise Gilmore because he is one of the best corners on the market," Clayton wrote. "He could get a big offer if he makes it to free agency."
Gilmore was selected by the Bills 10th overall in the 2012 draft and has appeared in 68 games with the team.
Due to Brown's career year, he jumped to 38th on Clayton's list. After only recording 77 tackles with the Titans in 2015, Brown was second in the NFL in 2016 with 149 tackles. He also recorded four sacks, two forced fumbles and started all 16 games for the Bills.
"The Bills struck gold in signing him to a one-year, $1.25 million contract," Clayton wrote. "He ended up being the third alternate to the Pro Bowl."
With the Bills ready to switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme, it could fit Brown's playing style even more. The 27-year-old already expressed his excitement about Buffalo transitioning to a McDermott defense.
Woods came in at the 43rd slot and is one of four Bills free agent wide receivers. Woods was hampered by injuries in 2016, and only started 10 games. Still, he hauled in 51 receptions for 613 yards and a touchdown.
His best season with Buffalo came in 2014 when caught 65 passes for 699 yards and five touchdowns.
"Woods might not be a No. 1 receiver, but he's a solid No. 2, and he's only 24," Clayton wrote.
Chris Brown contributed to this report.