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In defense of Buffalo Bills OC Ken Dorsey

A knee-jerk verdict before Dorsey’s case was pled?

NFL: Buffalo Bills Training Camp Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Today I present to you a case that has caused much grief in the Buffalo Bills community. A case not only oft-discussed in the regular season, but which then gained considerable steam following the Bills’ disappointing divisional round playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Of course, that is the fate of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. The time is right for me to take a stand and show the naysayers that Dorsey’s performance wasn’t as poor as it seemed on the surface, and that his rookie season calling plays bodes well for hope of success in future seasons.

During the 2022 NFL season, there were 14 teams with new offensive coordinators. Five of those teams were able to make the postseason. Of those teams, Dorsey’s offense was the only unit to rank in the top three in terms of yards per game (second), and points per game (second). The only other team that ranked in the top five in both of those categories was the Detroit Lions. Buffalo also had the best third-down offense in the NFL, converting on 50% of tries. That’s remarkable to consider, given that often the offense struggled in 3rd & Short situations.

There was no cakewalk for the offense either, having to face defenses among the best in the league. The Bills played the New York Jets twice, which fielded the fourth-best defense in the NFL. Keeping pace were the New England Patriots with the eighth-best defense — one that generated a lot of turnovers. Buffalo also played the Baltimore Ravens (10th), Pittsburgh Steelers (13th) and the Cleveland Browns (14th), so it wasn’t as though the offense squared off against bad defenses during the season.

Mike Groh was the last first-year offensive coordinator to win the Super Bowl, doing so with the Philadelphia Eagles five seasons ago. But one can argue that Philly’s offense was run by head coach Doug Pederson. The difference for the Bills and Dorsey is that head coach Sean McDermott is not an offensive-minded coach. That means everything pertaining to the offense falls on the shoulders of Dorsey, which can be tough for a coordinator on a team with true Super Bowl aspirations. Josh Allen’s numbers this season were very similar to last season, despite playing one less game. Allen was also someone who vouched for Dorsey, urging Buffalo to promote him following the departure of Brian Daboll to the New York Giants.

Yes, it was a difficult end to the season, and scoring 10 points at home in the playoffs is not a good final note. All I can urge Bills Mafia to exhibit is a little more patience. The idea of Allen having to adapt to a third offensive coordinator in as many seasons won’t provide the consistency necessary to allow the Bills’ offense to mature.