We've agreed with Rick Dennison to be our offensive coordinator. pic.twitter.com/6XAjImwdtD— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) January 19, 2017
Dennison, 58, played nine years in the NFL as a linebacker for the Broncos before moving into coaching at Suffolk Academy (a Connecticut high school) in 1992. In 1995, he joined Mike Shanahan’s first staff with the Broncos as an offensive assistant, alongside offensive coordinator and future Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak. He served as the team’s special teams coach from 1997 to 2000, a span that saw them win two Super Bowls behind John Elway in his final seasons. From 2001 to 2005, he coached Denver’s offensive line, and in 2006 he was promoted to offensive coordinator for the end of Shanahan’s tenure in Denver. He spent his final season with the Broncos coaching the offensive line under Josh McDaniels.
In 2010, Dennison moved on to Houston, to serve as Kubiak’s offensive coordinator with the Texans. They stayed until 2013, and when Kubiak became John Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator Dennison joined the Ravens as a quarterbacks coach. It was there that Dennison spent the year coaching current Bills starter Tyrod Taylor, who was in his final year of backing up Joe Flacco with the Ravens. After the season, Kubiak returned to head coaching in Denver, bringing Dennison with him as offensive coordinator.
The offenses that Dennison has run tend to be very quarterback-friendly and require the quarterback to play mostly under center. That would be an adjustment for Taylor, who has spent most of the last two seasons operating out of the shotgun or pistol formations.
In Dennison’s nine seasons as an offensive coordinator, his teams have finished in the top ten in the NFL in rushing five times. That’s a big bonus for a team that’s featured the league’s best rushing attack two years running. The Broncos’ rushing attack was 27th in the NFL last season, something that can be attributed to the hodgepodge of running backs they were forced to use due to C.J. Anderson’s injury troubles. Rest assured, when his team has running backs he knows what to do with them.
Believe it or not, Dennison is actually one of the least experienced coaches on McDermott’s staff so far. He has no NCAA experience and only began coaching in the NFL in 1995. It’s interesting that Dennison, who played on the defensive side of the ball, has made his career coaching the offense in various roles.
Either way, the Bills finally have their offensive coordinator. Now, the Bills are in a position to really decide how they want to proceed not only with creating their identity on offense, but who they want under center to serve as the face of it.