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Consulting With The Coaches

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'Find that confidence again' | Why Bills HC Sean McDermott made a change with his offensive coaching staff


Bills head coach Sean McDermott had his regularly scheduled Zoom call with the media the day after Buffalo's Week 10 loss to the Broncos.

The big news of the day was the decision to relieve Ken Dorsey of his role as the team's offensive coordinator and promote Joe Brady to the interim role.

Here are the most noteworthy things to know about what McDermott had to say regarding the decision:

Why now?

The Bills announced shortly before noon Tuesday morning that Ken Dorsey had been relieved of his duties as the team's OC and promoted quarterbacks coach Joe Brady to interim OC. McDermott shared Tuesday afternoon that the decision to make a coaching change was made by him alone.

"I'll start by just thanking Ken and his family for their investment on our team and just felt like it was time for change. We need to be a confident offensive football team and find consistent production and that's really what it came down to," he said.

McDermott used the words "energy", "confidence" and "consistency" at various points during the press conference when asked about what has been lacking in the Bills offense during their 2-4 stretch over the last six games.

"When you're not producing over the course of time that's where confidence levels spin, and I think that's really the goal here is to find that confidence again," he said. 

With a short week ahead of them before facing the Jets at home Sunday, McDermott felt that the players needed a shift in energy when they suited up for their next game.

"I think it's important that those guys feel, hey, something's changed, right? And there's something new that we can be excited about in terms of an opportunity to improve, really," he said. "I think that's a piece of it, but also, like I said, it just got to be the right time right now to make the move and see if we can get some energy about our offense right now."

McDermott's assessment of the current offense

After scoring 38 points in Week 2, 37 points in Week 3 and 48 points in Week 4, the Bills haven't eclipsed more than 25 points in a game since then. McDermott pointed to those scoring inconsistencies as one of the reasons why now is the right time to make a switch.

"We were inconsistent and because of that, not scoring enough points. So at this point, that's the goal," McDermott said.

One of the main reasons the scoring production has lagged, despite analytical models still ranking Buffalo among the league's most efficient units, is the increase in turnovers on the offensive side and a decrease in turnovers generated by the defense. 

The Bills rank 32nd in the NFL in turnover margin over the last month of play.  

Since Week 6, Bills QB Josh Allen has just one game with at least 300 yards passing; he has two games with under 200 yards passing during that same span. While Allen leads the league in total touchdowns (26) this year, he also leads the league in total turnovers (14). 

It hasn't just been all on Allen, though as the supporting cast around him has lost four fumbles this season. 

McDermott said that he meets with Allen daily during the season and feels that the high percentage of turnovers by the offense — coupled with the team's recent skid — is likely hindering the quarterback's mentality.

"Probably not where we'd like him to be," McDermott said about Allen's confidence. "And that's natural based on some of the results that we've gotten this year, some of the results he's gotten, some of the turnovers in particular."

Still, McDermott believes Allen can work his way out of his struggles, just as he has in stretches in previous seasons.

"I'm confident that he'll find it. And I think, again, 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.

Brady has experience as an NFL OC

As the Bills move forward with Joe Brady as their interim offensive coordinator, McDermott said he is excited to see what the 34-year-old coach can do in this new role.

"He comes with some experience," McDermott shared. "I think overall, just his day-to-day command of his job more than anything, and it's like anything else, some of this is a projection. And also we want to see what he can do in this role."

Brady was hired by the Bills before the 2022 season as the team's quarterbacks coach. Prior to joining Buffalo, Brady was the Panthers' offensive coordinator for nearly two seasons (2020-21) and served as the passing game coordinator for the LSU Tigers during their national championship season (2019). He also had a two-year stint (2017-18) as an offensive analyst under Sean Payton in New Orleans.

While with the Bills, Brady has been coaching from the sidelines during games and is frequently communicating with Allen when he comes off the field after a drive.

"(Joe) has a close relationship with Josh as the quarterback coach, and we've talked this afternoon, and really, actually, earlier this morning, and he's got some ideas and, and we'll see where it goes from here," McDermott shared.

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