clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky provides in-depth analysis of Buffalo Bills’ offense under OC Ken Dorsey

In a conversation with “One Bills Live” co-hosts Chris Brown & Steve Tasker, Orlovsky hammered home key points he observes as detrimental to Buffalo’s offense

ESPN Super Bowl Broadcast From Disney California Adventure Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

On the heels of the Buffalo Bills letting offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey go, Chris Brown and Steve Tasker with “One Bills Live” met up with ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky, as they do each week. Interestingly, Orlovsky has frequently pointed out on his social media account key issues that he’s observed with Buffalo’s offense this season. He doesn’t see Dorsey’s firing as a scapegoat situation, unlike NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. Instead, he believes the move was justified, finding the team’s offense to be “schematically broken.”

While Orlovsky has paid close attention to the Bills’ and, truthfully, every NFL offense/quarterback — what began the latest round of attention to his analysis was due to the following tweet.


Dan Orlovsky talks Josh Allen, Ken Dorsy’s dismissal with “One Bills Live”

The in-depth conversation Orlovsky had with Brown and Tasker on Tuesday was a candid reveal from one highly respected former NFL quarterback-turned-analyst. They began by recalling a separate tweet where Orlovsky stated: I remain adamant: The Bills offense schematically is broken.”

To which, Dan Orlovsky began by saying:

“I think the starting point is that the offense is, one — schematically very predictable. I think we’ve talked about that, you know, when this football team gets in their two-by-two formation, they’re really running two plays. They’re running their RPO, with a little stop and a little flat route, or their putting Stef on a five-yard short in. So there’s a predictability element of that. When they, early downs, get into like a bunch concept, they’re running spot, which is a very simple like pass concept. So there’s this scheme that you sit there and go ‘we’re easy to prepare for — and not all the time, but more often than not teams know the likelihood of the two plays that we’re gonna run.’ The second part of that is, for me, they are far too dependent on execution level being a 10 for the play to be successful. There is no easy ‘I’ve made the execution of the player or by the player easier by some of the formation that I’ve done, or the action that I’ve gotten to, or the motion that I’ve used.’ So if we’re having a day, or that player’s having a day where they’re executing at an incredibly high level, or the opponent is inferior, then the scheme is gonna be efficient. But when they’re maybe executing at a seven out of 10 that day, or the opponent is a high-level opponent, the scheme doesn’t give us any advantages. And I don’t think that they did things consistently to put their players in situations where they had advantages. I think too often the players were put in situations where there were disadvantages, and those players occasionally — and sometimes more often than not — won because they’re so talented and so good. That doesn’t mean that the scheme was the thing that was elevating that performance.”

Then responding to the question about how much an offensive coordinator can install on a short week:

“Yeah, I mean I think there’s minor changes that can happen. I was actually on a team that fired their play-caller mid-season, essentially. First game was a disaster. Now that game was in London and a short week, and you’re trying to put a game plan together on an airplane type of stuff. And after that, significant improvement. So I think there could be minor changes. I think it’s gonna be more of the subtlety of ‘hey, we’re gonna do less of this, and more of that.’ So, more of the things that the quarterback or the offensive line, or certain receivers and/or tight ends what they like, and less of what they don’t like. Some of the things that just are obvious that the offense can excel in. So, I don’t think it’s, Steve, this drastic change — at least not in my experience, it wasn’t that . But it was, and it’s not just the game plan. It’s also the calls. You know, it’s also what call happens in what moments during the games. And, you know, it felt like too often there were calls that the quarterback didn’t see it in the way that the eyes light up and say ‘I love this one.’ And I think that could be probably the most major change is, when that call comes in you want that quarterback thinkin’ ‘I don’t care what the defense is, we got it.’”

On ESPN writer/analyst Matt Bowen’s social media comment stating: “Josh Allen’s fundamentals have declined. And he’s making poor decisions with the ball. There’s also a lack of structure/run game consistency with this Bills offense.”

Where does Orlovsky believe Josh Allen’s fundamentals and decision-making is at this moment in time — and how much of does he put on Allen personally and/or the scheme?

“So, a lot to this one, Chris. Let me say this on your guys’ show: Josh Allen is very far from broken. Very far from broken. How much do I put on Josh? I think Josh would tell you that some of his decisions have not been his best, no doubt. And I think that’s part of his DNA. I think that’s part of his personality, that certainly is the type of player that he is at times. But that player also gives you a chance to win a Super Bowl every single season. So, Josh is not a — I’ve said this before — Josh is not the operator. Like — the offense — like how much do I put on scheme versus player? Okay, the analogy I have is: this offense too often asks Josh to be Chris Paul, and not LeBron James. Like, Josh is not a ball-distribution quarterback. He’s not a point guard that you just wanna distribute the — he’s a guy that put the ball in his hands, and run the offense through him, and he’s a dominant force. And then everybody else reaps the benefit of that. So, I’m not gonna dismiss the decision making, that is fair. I respectfully disagree with Matt when it comes to the mechanics. I don’t see that. I think all the things that are necessary mechanically to make the right throws and make accurate, and ball placement, high-level throws Josh is doing with his feet being in the right place, with his body being in the right place, the arm, the way he’s finishing throws. Now, are there times Josh mechanically is not perfect? Of course, but the ball ends up on guys’ faces, ‘cause athletically he’s capable of that. But I personally do not see the mechanics falling or diminishing the way that Matt references. But I’m telling — I see him far from broken. Far from broken.”

On whether “more of this, less of that” includes the offense running plays out of shotgun and/or under center and within play-action look — and whether it’s a good or bad idea to manipulate the concepts against the New York Jets.

“So the 4th & 1 (Monday night) drove me nuts, and I put it on Twitter (Tuesday). I don’t hate 4th & 1 shotgun. I’m not saying you’ve gotta go under center every time. But I would never go 4th & 1 shotgun and not give Josh Allen the chance to be the ball carrier. Not threaten the defense with 11 on 11 football. Like, if you wanna go shotgun zone-read designed quarterback run, I’m all for it. But to go shotgun drop-back, I hated that. I think that this, I’m not naive to the fact that it’s a shotgun league. But if we’re having this honest conversation right now of the offenses in the NFL that are playing their best, or playing thee best — we’re gonna put ‘em in a group of Miami, we’re gonna put it in a group of Houston right now, we’re gonna put it in a group of San Francisco, Baltimore. Look how much they put their quarterback under center. ‘Cause, Steve, it’s simply this: There’s a lot of numbers that get thrown out, and you can make numbers say whatever you want. One of the massive, glaring misses in (the Bills’) offense right now is it is very difficult to be explosive. I’ve said this before. You can’t be explosive versus two-safety defense just playing drop-back football. You’re not good enough — very few people are. You have to do things to try and create that. And so, I do think that Joe Brady will at least hopefully implement that a little bit — help everybody. I don’t think it’s an impossible fix. I honestly do not. I don’t know if it’s gonna be the number-one offense in the league, but I do think there are tweaks and changes that they can implement to help everybody play better.”

Whether or not Josh Allen’s stats in eight games against the Jets — a 6-4 record with nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and seven lost fumbles — should affect Joe Brady’s game plans in Week 11.

“It absolutely should, and not only Josh’s statistical performance — it’s who you’re going against. The starting point for Joe should be: ‘Hey, how do we as an offense not lose the game? How do we make sure that we don’t give this game away again, like we did on Monday night and like we did Week 1. Okay, so, what were the flaws of those plays. Well, drop-back, pass-protecting football. Okay so, if we’re gonna play shotgun drop-back football, it has to be one where it’s only focused on getting a completion.’ I don’t think they should do it a lot, that’s me personally. Now you’re not going to drop back on this football team defensively, just think(ing) of getting four- or five-yard completions and think you’re gonna go 70-80 yards three or four times. It’s just completely unrealistic. I think that there needs to be a little bit of empty. When you’re in empty, the ball has to come out quick — it should be quarterback run or it should be perimeter screens. I think they have to go at least 10-12 plays of playaction. Why? Number one: You’ve got numbers in to protect (against the) defensive line. Number two: It gives them opportunity to push the ball downfield. Number three, and probably the biggest part of that is there’s checkdowns right in line with what Josh is gonna wanna do with the football. Instead of, ‘number one’s not there and then number two’s over there, but if I get to number three I’m dead because the pass rush is so good.’ So I think there’s gotta be a mindset of ‘we’ve done this kind of stuff versus them and it has not been good’ — don’t call any of it. There’s no need to.


Dan Orlovsky further discusses Ken Dorsey, Buffalo Bills offense with “The Pat McAfee Show”

Later that day, Dan Orlovsky joined “The Pat McAfee Show” to once again discuss the current situation with the Bills’ offense.

To Dan’s point of view, he doubled down saying that “It is the easiest offense in the NFL right now to like prepare for, ‘cause they don’t do anything.” Later adding:

“it’s very much so schematically a broken offense. Their 4th & 1 call I hated last night. Motioning just to say ‘we moved a guy.’ So everyone’s gotta be better, turnovers all that, no doubt. But it’s broken, schematically. I’ve said this forever: Go under center and run more playaction with motion. They do it, they’re good. They just don’t do it more than three or four times a game. So, there’s a lot of reasons the results are what the results are.”

A lot of what Orlovsky shared with “The Pat McAfee Show” was similar to what he shared with “One Bills Live” — so I won’t transcribe his nearly eight-minute conversation in full. Instead, you can simply view the embedded content here.


Dan Orlovsky joins in on roundtable discussion with ESPN’s “First Take”

Orlovsky also joined in on a roundtable discussion with ESPN NFL Live “First Take” where they spoke at length about Ken Dorsey and the problems plaguing Buffalo’s offense.

To begin the conversation Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said “what a disgrace it was to fire Dorsey when he’s got 12 men on the field” in a game-winning situation. There are for sure some arguments to be made about Dorsey being let go after the game appeared over in favor of the Bills — but ended poorly thanks to an inexcusable special teams gaffe. But for the argument to be based off that unit being the same that was responsible for the 13 seconds failure is incorrect. The argument instead should have included the Week 1 overtime disaster against the Jets. So, take some of the bravado embedded here with a grain of salt.