Much has been written all season about former offensive coordinator Rick Dennison’s shortcomings. He was castigated as predictable and too conservative. He was also seen as too slow (unwilling according to some) to make adjustments to an offense that had been seventh in scoring through 15 weeks of the 2016 season. The Bills tumbled all the way down to 22nd in scoring as the offense ranked a putrid 29th, with the 31st-ranked passing attack paired to the 6th-rated run game. Fans called for his firing almost all season long and head coach Sean McDermott had evidently come to the same conclusion.
Enter brand new coordinator Brian Daboll. He has been an NFL offensive coordinator during four different seasons, 2009-2012, with the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Kansas City Chiefs.
In 2009, he led a Cleveland offense to dead last in the league. More worrisome, the Browns were able to run the ball (8th) but their pass offense was the worst in the NFL. The Browns were 29th in scoring. It is worth pointing out that his available quarterbacks were Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.
In 2010, he again led the Cleveland offense and presided over a mild improvement to 29th. The 29th-ranked pass attack was paired with a rushing offense that dropped from 8th all the way to 20th. Even though the offense got a little better, scoring actually got worse, dropping to 31st. He had all new quarterbacks in 2010, but... Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, and Jake Delhomme. Yikes.
In 2011 Daboll was in Miami, with Matt Moore, Chad Henne, and J.P. Losman (really) under center. This was his highest-ranked offense, at 22nd. The Dolphins were 23rd in passing and 11th in rushing. The Dolphins were also his highest-ranked scoring unit at 20th.
In 2012, he was in Kansas City. He was once again paired with Brady Quinn and also had Matt Cassel under center. The Chiefs were 24th overall with the 32nd-ranked passing offense and 5th rushing attack. The Chiefs were the last in scoring, coming in at 32nd.
Averaging it out, Daboll’s offenses have ranked 26th overall with the 29th-ranked pass attack and 11th-ranked rushing offense. His offenses have been 28th in scoring. Dennison’s Bills, by way of comparison, were 29th overall, 31st in passing, 6th in rushing, and 22nd in scoring. A pessimist might look at the numbers and despair specifically due to Daboll’s inability to lead an offense to better than 23rd in passing. An optimist might point to the fact that Daboll had to rely on a slew of bad quarterbacks and hope that Buffalo will provide him with a better QB than he’s ever had to run his offense.