By: Nick Wojton
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane said at their season-ending press conference on Tuesday that they’d begin evaluating the 2017 team as soon as they walked off the stage.
It didn’t take long for the organization to come to a decision on offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
The team announced on Friday that Dennison was relieved of his duties after only one year on the job.
The team did not release a statement on Dennison, just announcing his removal.
During the press conference on Tuesday, McDermott discussed the importance of having a team’s offensive coordinator and quarterback on the same page. His response seemed damming for Dennison.
“Well there’s certainly a connection there. That said, at the end of the day, good coaches are good teachers and that’s where you start and you really take it from there,” McDermott said.
Despite cracking a 17-year playoff drought this year, the move does not come as a surprise.Overall, Buffalo finished with the 29th ranked offense in the NFL this season, averaging 302.6 yards-per-game.Of the 12 teams to crack the postseason, the Bills had the lowest-ranking offense.Hampering Buffalo’s offensive woes was a passing attack which ranked second-to-last in the NFL, averaging 176.6 yards-per-game. In 15 games played, quarterback Tyrod Taylor had his worst season as a starting quarterback. Taylor threw for 2,799 yards and only 14 touchdowns. In one start, rookie Nathan Peterman had an awful showing in one half of football against the Los Angeles Chargers, throwing five interceptions. On the ground, the Bills remained a force, finishing with the sixth-best running game in the NFL (126.1).
Running back LeSean McCoy had 1,138 rushing yards in 2017, but had his worst yards-per-carry average in his career with the Bills. Coming into the year, McCoy averaged 4.4 and then 5.4 a carry in his first two years in Buffalo. That dropped to 4.0.
In addition to McCoy’s drop, the sixth-overall finish was a drop as well after the Bills finished the last two seasons as the NFL’s top-running team.
Early in the season Dennison was criticized for changing Buffalo’s offensive blocking scheme from a power blocking scheme to a zone blocking scheme, negatively affecting the previously successful running game.
The Bills also had poor production from their wide receivers throughout the season.
Deonte Thompson finished the season as Buffalo’s top wide receiver with only 27 catches and 430 yards.