After a Wednesday in which the Bills made several promotions amongst their offensive coaching staff, today they began filling out the coaching posts vacated by those with new responsibilities. The first hire? Long-time NFL lineman Ray Brown - one of the league's best guards for a long, long time - will become the assistant O-Line coach, replacing Sean Kugler, who is now the offensive line coach.
Brown, 45, spent 20 years playing guard in the NFL. After retiring in 2005, Brown spent a year away from football before joining Joe Gibbs' staff in Washington as an assistant during the 2006 season. He spent '07 with Comcast, and now joins the Bills' staff with some coaching experience, a ton of playing experience, and plenty of talent.
I'm a fan of this hire. Obviously, Kugler will have the most responsibility, but I think that Dick Jauron has it right in splitting some of the duties at this position. Kugler hasn't worked much with the running game in his one year at Buffalo; it's likely that while he'll have some say, Brown will be working largely with the interior linemen and the rushing attack. (That's just my educated guess, but it seems to fit.) At any rate, Brown is a young coach who will likely mesh well with the current players due to his vast playing experience. He's about as solid a hire as you can ask for.
Bills Add FB Barnes to Roster
Offensive coordinator Turk Schonert made plenty of promises yesterday after his promotion, and he's already delivered on one of them - he'll return to the two-back system after the free agent signing of fullback Darian Barnes. Barnes is an experienced young player, having spent time with the Jets and Cowboys during his six years as a pro. While he's certainly never going to statistically factor into an offensive attack, he's the type of hard-nosed, hit-loving back that the Bills haven't had since Daimon Shelton wasn't worthless.
Don't expect Barnes to be handed a starting job at fullback; don't even expect the Bills to use a fullback on every run down next year. What you can expect, however, is that Barnes will make the opening day roster: he brings a nasty factor to the rushing attack, and he'll serve his purpose on special teams as well. While not flashy, this is yet another solid find by our front office, especially this early in the off-season.
Kudos to guys like jmorris, Kurupt, and sireric for keeping the community updated about this news while I was busy at work today. Y'all rock.