With the NFL regular season drawing to a close on Sunday, teams that missed out on the playoffs have begun the process of identifying their next head coach.
Not surprisingly, given the recent success experienced by the Buffalo Bills, Brian Daboll, Buffalo’s offensive coordinator, has drawn interest from both the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins for those franchise’s head-coaching vacancies.
On Monday, the Bears became the first team to submit a request to speak with Daboll about their head-coaching position. Chicago fired Matt Nagy after he went 34-31 during the regular season, and 0-2 in the playoffs during an inconsistent four-year tenure in the Windy City.
On Tuesday, the Dolphins joined in, submitting their request to have Daboll sit down for an interview to take over for Brian Flores, who was fired on Monday after going 24-25 during his three seasons in Miami.
Dolphins just submitted their request to interview Bills OC Brian Daboll for their HC job, per source. Daboll now has requests from the Bears and Dolphins.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2022
With the Bills set to host the New England Patriots at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in a Wild Card game, Daboll is not required to interview for any head coaching vacancies this week. If the Bills defeat the Patriots, either the Bears or the Dolphins could travel to Orchard Park to interview Daboll or do so virtually in the days after the team advances. Buffalo gets to dictate when the interview takes place if they advance.
After that, Daboll can’t be interviewed again until after the Conference Championship game, and a team couldn’t hire him until Buffalo is either eliminated from the postseason or wins the Super Bowl.
Daboll, who has served as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator and play caller since the 2018 season, makes a lot of sense for teams searching for an offensive-minded head coach. Daboll has overseen a Bills offense that has become one of the NFL’s best and highest-scoring offenses. In 2020, he was named the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year by the Associated Press.
In 2021, Buffalo won its second straight AFC East championship, going 11-6 with an offense that ranked third in the league in points per game (28.4). The Bills were fourth in first downs (398), fifth in total yards (6,493), sixth in rushing yards (2,209), and seventh in passing touchdowns (36).
Last year, Buffalo set a franchise record for points scored in a season (501) while posting a 13-3 record and advancing into the AFC Championship. The Bills led the league in first downs (397), were second in total yards (6,343 yards) and percentage of drives that culminated with points (49.4 percent). and third in passing touchdowns (40).
Daboll has worked closely with All-Pro quarterback Josh Allen during his time leading Buffalo’s offense. Daboll is credited with helping the No. 7 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft blossom into one of the league’s top signal callers.
Both Chicago and Miami have young quarterbacks on the roster, with the Bears drafting Ohio State’s Justin Fields with the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the Dolphins featuring Tua Tagovailoa, the former Alabama standout.
Daboll has served as an offensive coordinator for multiple franchises, including the Dolphins in 2011. In all, he’s spent eight years leading an NFL offense. He also has experience from a stint with the New England Patriots, where former Dolphins coach Brian Flores was before joining Miami.
Losing Daboll would certainly hurt Buffalo’s offense, as Allen and the Bills have made significant progress since Daboll joined the organization. But that’s the price winning teams pay in the NFL: assistant coaches from playoff teams are often poached by other franchises looking for their next head coach.
If Daboll departs, the most obvious internal candidate to take over as offensive coordinator and play caller would be quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey, who has spent the last three seasons aiding with Allen’s development. Dorsey was promoted to passing game coordinator a year ago in what most see as a bridge to his eventual succession of Daboll. While Daboll calls the plays from up in the booth, Dorsey stays on the field with Allen during the games, and Dorsey is also heavily involved in game planning during the week.
While Dorsey lacks play-calling experience (besides a stint as a high school offensive coordinator), he was an NFL QB for six years and has seven years of experience with the Carolina Panthers (two as a scout and five as a quarterbacks coach).