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Dennis Thurman named Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator; eight assistants hired

Rex Ryan is moving quickly to fill out his Buffalo Bills coaching staff. All three coordinators are now in place, and eight more assistants are now under contract and officially announced, as well.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In an expected move, the Buffalo Bills on Thursday named Dennis Thurman their new defensive coordinator.

Thurman, 58, has coached with Rex Ryan since 2002. He spent six seasons as a defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens, becoming the team's defensive backs coach the year prior to Ryan taking over as the defensive coordinator there. Thurman left Baltimore in 2008 to coach defensive backs under Eric Mangini; when Mangini was fired, Ryan became his replacement, and Thurman was retained in his role.

Prior to the 2013 season, Ryan's defensive coordinator in New York, left the team to become the coordinator for the Bills. When that happened, Ryan elevated Thurman to the defensive coordinator post, where he spent his last two seasons with the New York Jets.

Thurman's role now solidifies all three coordinator positions under Ryan. Here's what that looks like:

  • Rex Ryan | head coach
  • Greg Roman | offensive coordinator
  • Dennis Thurman | defensive coordinator
  • Danny Crossman | special teams coordinator

The team also confirmed that defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson, who held that role for the last two seasons under Doug Marrone, will stay with the team as a co-defensive backs coach under Ryan.

In addition to naming Thurman the defensive coordinator, the Bills also officially announced the hirings of seven new assistant coaches, all following Ryan to Buffalo from the Jets. Those coaches are (including Henderson):

  • Tony Sparano, Jr. | tight ends
  • Karl Dunbar | defensive line
  • Jeff Weeks | assistant defensive line
  • Bobby April III | linebackers
  • Donnie Henderson | co-defensive backs
  • Tim McDonald | co-defensive backs
  • Eric Smith | special teams assistant
  • Jason Oszvart | strength and conditioning assistant

That brings Buffalo's coaching staff up to 12 officially announced names - but just two, Roman and Sparano Jr., are on the offensive side of the ball. Needless to say, there's still plenty of work to do there.