The Buffalo Bills offense was pretty good in 2016. Do you remember? You probably remember they led the league in rushing, but they were also sixth in points per game and touchdowns. That changed this year. As SB Nation asks us “What would you change about your season?” today, I nominate Rick Dennison.
Buffalo had Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller, Jordan Mills and LeSean McCoy in 2016 and 2017 along with Tyrod Taylor. But out goes Anthony Lynn and in comes Dennison and the Bills offense drops to 23rd in scoring (down six points a game) and touchdowns. Instead of 5.3 yards per carry and 164.4 yards per game on the ground, Buffalo is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 129.1 yards per game on the ground. So why are the same Bills players gaining a yard less on every carry and 35 rushing yards less every game?
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison came in and changed everything about the offense, but especially changing the blocking assignments and the running game. He turned a successful offense into a bad one.
Sure, you could talk about benching Tyrod Taylor for Nathan Peterman against the Los Angeles Chargers, not converting turnovers into points against the Cincinnati Bengals, a bad pass/catch connection against the Carolina Panthers, or a bunch of other things. There is one guy in common with all of those moves and many more that led to the decline of the Bills offense. Dennison wasn’t a good choice to call the Bills offense (and he might get the chance to develop a quarterback next year).