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Bills special teams coordinator Heath Farwell leaving, Smiley promoted

This could be for good reason...

The Buffalo Bills and special teams coordinator Heath Farwell are parting ways. The team announced they have promoted assistant special teams coach Matthew Smiley.

Tom Pelissero has reported that Farwell with be joining the Jacksonville Jaguars as their special teams coordinator under new head coach Doug Pederson. Farwell joined Buffalo in 2019 after two years as the assistant special teams coordinator with the Carolina Panthers. He played in the NFL for nine years with the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, earning a Pro Bowl nod in that role in 2010.

The Bills are coming off two consecutive top-ten finishes in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings and Farwell oversaw the development of franchise kicker Tyler Bass, but the kickoff against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round with 13 seconds remaining looms large as a season-defining mistake. Head coach Sean McDermott has frequently used the word “execution” to describe what happened and has refused to elaborate further, but Farwell’s departure opens the door to the possibility that the “execution” issue occurred at the coaching level and not with the players.

In one of McDermott’s most recent media availabilities, he said that a team gets the best “return on investment” from promoting coaches from within, which coincides with the promotion of Smiley.

With former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and former assistant general manager Joe Schoen moving to New Jersey to take over the head coaching and general manager duties with the New York Giants, it appears the coaching and front-office shakeup many were expecting last year is upon the organization this year instead.