With all signs pointing towards Sean McDermott becoming the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills, speculation also abounds regarding the man who will run Buffalo’s offense. Jason LaCanfora first reported a “McDuo” of McDermott and McCoy back in 2015, and now that McCoy has been fired as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, the possibility exists that the two men could team up in Orchard Park.
McCoy has a long and varied history of working with quarterbacks, dating back to his first gig in 2000 with the Carolina Panthers. He was Steve Beuerlein’s position coach that year, and although he regressed from his best year in 1999, the journeyman still enjoyed success in his age-35 season (Bill Musgrave, the QB coach the year prior, had taken over as the offensive coordinator that year. Another member of the offensive staff? Greg Roman).
McCoy was the quarterbacks coach when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl in 2003, and he worked with Jake Delhomme during the best years of his career. Upon taking the offensive coordinator’s job in Denver, McCoy went to work in a particularly impressive stretch, varying his offense greatly depending upon his personnel. He at different times coaxed great years out of Kyle Orton (2009-2010), Tim Tebow (2011...”great” is relative to Tebow’s ability, mind you, but he actually fashioned an offense around Tebow that worked), and Peyton Manning (2012). He then moved on to San Diego, where Philip Rivers had the best years of his career under McCoy’s tutelage.
What does all of this say about a McCoy hiring with regard to Tyrod Taylor? McCoy certainly is no stranger to a running quarterback, nor is he married to a particular system—he completely redesigned the Broncos’ offense in 2011 to suit Tebow’s strengths, mixing it with what the team already did well—and is clearly someone who is comfortable working with people of varied skill sets. He has worked with young players and Hall of Fame players, earning praise from the latter for his work ethic and creativity.
Taylor could benefit greatly from a coach willing to, well, tailor his system to the strengths of the current personnel. The fact that he was able to design and call plays that allowed Tebow to enjoy some semblance of NFL success is miraculous in its own right. Taylor is light years better than Tebow and has already shown himself to be an above-average NFL quarterback, finishing in the top-10 in total QBR in each of his seasons as Buffalo’s starter (7th and 9th). While his passing numbers regressed in 2016, it is hard to ignore the fact that only Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods played over 50% of the team’s snaps at receiver. McCoy is a legitimate teacher of quarterbacks, and his ability to design an offense that helps his signal caller to succeed should only help Taylor to continue to improve.
An under-the-radar benefit to McCoy’s presence would be the potential improvement of Cardale Jones. The big-armed rookie needs time to develop, and having a coordinator who specializes in quarterbacks can only be a good thing for the uber-talented Ohio State product.
If the Bills choose to hire McDermott, and McDermott can bring a coach with experience as a head coach with the type of coordinating experience that McCoy has, it must be considered a win for a Bills’ organization that has been under intense scrutiny from local and national pundits alike. Hiring McCoy solidifies what I already felt was an obvious decision to exercise Taylor’s option. If McCoy could coordinate an offensive game plan that won a playoff game with Tebow at quarterback, I feel confident in his ability to mold Taylor into an even more efficient player in 2017 and beyond.