Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Buffalo Bills fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
The sky isn’t falling on the Buffalo Bills, believe it or not. The Bills are 4-2, behind the Miami Dolphins, but with an important head-to-head win over their AFC East foes. In truth, the season is still very young. But we know December football will be here before we’re ready.
That means it’s essential for head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to get the machine well-oiled and tuned up properly for a late-season surge. To this point, it appears as though McDermott’s holding up his end of the bargain as the defensive play caller. The unit looks great, even considering the terrible rash of injuries to key players at every level (cornerback Tre’Davious White, linebacker Matt Milano, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones).
But with Dorsey, the story is less succinct — more a choose-your-own-adventure piece through six games. Bills Mafia’s seen incredible highs and concerning lows with the team’s offense this season, perhaps more than any other season since Josh Allen’s arrival. Those highs have been gargantuan — Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins, winning 48-20; quarterback Josh Allen finishing with a perfect passer rating (158.3). The lows, meanwhile, have been magnified under the microscope of a primetime game situation.
While it’s perhaps unfair to lay all the offensive criticism at Dorsey’s feet for each and every concept and play that goes wrong, it is okay to be critical. But one must also account for the positive things he’s brought to an offense that few believed needed any improvements (it did, and does). Let’s consider a few ideas from both sides of the coin before voting...
In recognition of Dorsey’s positives
- Quarterback Josh Allen has blossomed this year as a play-action passer
- A greater commitment to using 12-personnel formations, reducing reliance on 11-personnel
- Through five games, Allen was 26-of-34 for 451 yards with five TDs on play-action passes
- Allen is completing 71.7% of his passes (147-of-205)
- Allen’s QB rating is 102.8 after six games
- A bona fide run game, with every running back finding success — led by James Cook who has 75 rushes for 363 yards (4.8 ypc) through six games
- averaging six yard per play on 376 plays
- 21 total TDs; 2,249 total offensive yards (1,575 pass / 709 rush)
Recognizing negatives attributed to Dorsey
- Offense appears to struggle against teams that run odd fronts / 3-4 defenses (New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Against the New York Giants, the offense struggled to do anything significant for almost three quarters
- The continued use of shotgun running plays
- A reluctance to run the ball in the first half of games
- Going away from what works on a given drive (i.e. from play action to shotgun)
- A lack of consistent production out of nearly every pass catcher not named Stefon Diggs
- A screen game that’s caught in the Bermuda Triangle — and those plays that are run are blown up
- Some instances showing lack of situational awareness during key downs/distances/points of game (i.e. vs. Giants 3rd & 8 where Allen floated an INC pass to Knox, failing to run clock / force Giants to use TO)
There are of course other pluses and minuses to consider here, but we’ll keep things brief here and allow you to talk in-depth in chat. How much of the above is fair to saddle Dorsey with, positive and negative? That’s for you to consider ahead of your vote.
Do you believe Ken Dorsey can and will correct the weakest parts of the Bills’ offense? Are you confident in Dorsey’s ability as offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills?