The Buffalo Bills are wasting no time in finding a new wide receivers coach following the departure of Chad Hall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. To that end, per NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, the Bills interviewed current Denver Broncos wide receiver coach Zach Azzanni on Monday, February 13.
With the #Bills losing WR coach Chad Hall, the team on Monday interviewed #Broncos WR coach Zach Azzanni, who is also interviewing with the #Jets today, per source. Staying in Denver on Sean Payton’s staff remains a possibility for Azzanni, who has been there since 2018.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 14, 2023
Per Pelissero’s tweet, Azzanni will also interview for the same position with the New York Jets today, February 14 — and he could also stay on with the Broncos under new head coach Sean Payton. A move to the Jets would mean a reunion with former Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, now installed as the Jets’ offensive coordinator. The longest-tenured coach with Denver, Azzanni, 46, has served in his current role with the team since 2018, having survived two head-coach firings/house cleanings. Prior to joining the Broncos, Azzanni was with the Chicago Bears as the team’s wide receivers coach.
While on the surface it may appear surprising to learn of this interview when considering the Broncos’ very visible offensive deficiencies, a position coach’s ability can be better observed in a vacuum. Per an article by Kyle Newman with The Denver Post from September 2022, it becomes more clear why a coach of Azzanni’s caliber may be coveted by head coach Sean McDermott, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, and One Bills Drive.
“So why has Azzanni been afforded such stability in a franchise defined by recent instability? As Butch Jones puts it, in coaching, the real thing is easy to spot. And Azzanni has ‘it with a capital I and capital T.’
‘When you press play on a Zach Azzanni-coached wide receiver corps, it’s going to be a group that’s tough, that blocks, that has great brotherhood and unit chemistry in that room,’ explained Jones, the Arkansas State head man who coached with Azzanni at Central Michigan and Tennessee. “They’re going to be students of the game, they’re going to own their fundamentals and they’re going to own their details.’
‘(Beyond that), Zach has a unique quality about himself where he can be very demanding because he knows what great looks like, but also, people gravitate towards him because they can feel the passion, the knowledge and the genuine care factor that he has.’”
Additionally, Azzanni aspires to one day become a head coach in the NFL, a development for him beyond once remaining focused on the role of head coach in the college ranks. That shows a commitment to greatness, and a drive to succeed at the highest level.
Someone with Azzanni’s experience and pedigree as a former walk-on WR at Central Michigan is a sought-after commodity in NFL circles. Azzanni might also be someone the Bills hope can help the franchise take its next step towards greatness.