Often times in training camp, there is a clear plan with what the coaches want the players to work on and, as a result, the plays are scripted in advance. This year, with a first-time offensive play caller, the Buffalo Bills are incorporating live play-calling into drills. It’s a way to get offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and special teams coach Matt Smiley more experience heading into the preseason contests and ultimately the preseason.
“We try and make our practices game-like in certain ways, and one of those ways, is having coordinators in these call-it periods,” head coach Sean McDermott said this week. “We’re going to do as much of that as we can because we have new coordinators, two of the three are new coordinators. Same with Smiley a little bit on special teams. It’s a little bit harder to do that, to simulate that on special teams. We’re going to do as much of that as we can through training camp. As a coordinator, I found – and I know [defensive coordinator] Leslie [Frazier] feels this way, as well – that’s good. It helps even an experienced coordinator knock the rust off, get your mind right and then when you go back and watch the film, it’s not only evaluating the scheme piece, it’s evaluating, ‘Hey, was that the right call? Did I like that call that I made?’”
Dorsey, calling an offense for the first time, had a great day on Wednesday, as the offense took it to the defense. Josh Allen had his way with defenders and even the running backs got in the mix with some good runs.
“I’m pleased with how guys have answered in those call-it periods,” Dorsey said this week. “We’re playing against a great defense every day, and it’s not always going to be perfect, and that’s good in training camp. You don’t want one side of the ball dominating, you want a back-and-forth and great competition, I think that’s important. I think that’s all part of it. It’s great the way Sean has made a concerted effort to include those in a practice as much as he can.”
Dorsey noted they aren’t game-planning right now, so it’s a little bit different than the regular season, but it’s still worthwhile to get live play-calling experiences.