Bills Rumors

Coaching Notes: Seahawks, Titans, Dolphins

We’ve got another couple of names to pass along for Seattle’s wide-ranging offensive coordinator search. The Seahawks want to interview Bills quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey and have already spoken with Rams pass-game coordinator Shane Waldron, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. They’ve been linked to what seems like every offensive coach in the league now, including Adam Gase and other big names. Dorsey was a backup quarterback in the league for a handful of years, and the 39-year-old was the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach from 2013-17.

He joined the Bills last season. Waldron is another young guy who has coached under Rams coach Sean McVay since 2016 since they were both with Washington. He started as McVay’s tight ends coach in Los Angeles before getting promoted to quarterbacks coach and pass-game coordinator. The Seahawks don’t appear to be honing in on anything in particular, and at this point it’s anyone’s guess who they’ll hire.

Here are more coaching notes from around the league:

  • The Texans are the only team still with a head coach opening, but they aren’t letting one key assistant go out the door yet. They recently blocked offensive coordinator Tim Kelly from interviewing for OC openings with two other teams, and those interested teams were the Titans and Lions, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Since it would be a lateral move and he’s still under contract, Houston can block those requests. As Breer points out, there has been buzz that Deshaun Watson likes Kelly, and the team could be looking to keep him in order to curry favor with their disgruntled starting quarterback. Detroit has since filled their vacancy with former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
  • Speaking of the Titans’ opening, Tennessee will be interviewing Pep Hamilton for the job in the next few days, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Hamilton was the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach this past year, and did a great job helping with the development of Justin Herbert, so he’s been drawing a lot of interest for OC jobs. He was talked about as a candidate in Miami, and is one of the finalists in Pittsburgh as well. The Titans of course are looking to replace Arthur Smith, now the head coach in Atlanta. Hamilton coordinated the Colts’ offense from 2013-15, and had a lot of success with Andrew Luck.
  • The Dolphins are still looking for their OC, but they have made a different key hire on offense. The team has parted ways with quarterbacks coach Robby Brown and replaced him with former NFL passer Charlie Frye, they announced in a tweet. It’s the first NFL coaching gig for Frye, who was Central Michigan’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons. It’s interesting that they’d hire the QBs coach before the OC. A third-round pick of the Browns back in 2005, Frye also played with the Seahawks and Raiders until 2009.

Patriots Were Finalists For Stefon Diggs

The Bills’ thrilling run to the AFC Championship Game almost never happened. It’s unlikely Buffalo would’ve made it this far without Stefon Diggs, and they apparently came very close to losing him to a division rival.

Diggs was very nearly traded to the Patriots this past offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. We had heard back in March that the Pats had expressed some interest, but we didn’t know how close they came until now. Rapoport writes that Buffalo and New England were the two finalists, and that the Vikings gave the Patriots a chance to match the Bills’ last offer.

Bill Belichick declined, and the rest is history. Interestingly, Rapoport adds that Minnesota never intended to trade the star wideout, “but had a number in mind of what it would take if it did.” He also writes that the Bills first tried trading for Diggs at the 2019 trade deadline but were rebuffed.

It’s fun to think about what would’ve happened had Belichick landed the top wideout. Diggs was ultimately traded on March 16th, the day before Tom Brady announced he’d be leaving New England. It’s unlikely that would’ve convinced Brady to stay as it seems his mind had been made up, but it would’ve at least given Cam Newton and the passing game a real viable threat in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/23/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed to reserve/futures deal: WR Deon Cain

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bills Elevate Kenny Stills From Practice Squad

The Bills made a high-profile wide receiver addition late in the season, signing Kenny Stills. Ahead of its first AFC championship game in 27 years, the team may be set to deploy Stills in a game for the first time.

The Bills promoted Stills from the practice squad Saturday. With Gabriel Davis questionable to face the Chiefs, Stills profiles as overqualified insurance. Davis is battling an ankle injury, one that prevented him from practicing until Friday. The rookie managed only a limited session then.

Stills languished as a seldom-used Texans cog this season, with Bill O’Brien reshuffling Houston’s receiving corps and leaving the veteran deep threat behind the likes of Will Fuller and newcomers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. After playing a key role last season, Stills caught just 11 passes during the 2020 slate. The Texans waived him in November, though they could have used him soon after. Fuller’s subsequent PED ban and a Cooks injury left Deshaun Watson with a skeleton-crew wideout corps for a time in December.

No team claimed Stills, leading him to Buffalo ahead of the Bills’ Week 17 game. The twice-traded wideout has resided on Buffalo’s practice squad since. Prior to this season, the 28-year-old wideout contributed consistently as an auxiliary target. Stills posted at least 550 receiving yards in each season from 2016-19, scoring 25 touchdowns in that span.

With Davis’ status murky, Stills could be called upon to join fellow vets Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and John Brown in action Sunday in Kansas City.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Anthony Lynn, Ken Dorsey On Lions’ Radar

After hiring Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator, the Lions are moving fast on their offensive coordinator job. Two more candidates have emerged for Detroit’s play-calling post.

Former Chargers HC Anthony Lynn and current Bills QBs coach Ken Dorsey are on Detroit’s radar for this position, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. New Lions HC Dan Campbell said he has interviewed four OC candidates already, per Birkett (on Twitter). Ravens QBs coach James Urban and Steelers wide receivers instructor Ike Hilliard are in the mix for the gig.

This makes two OC positions to which Lynn has been connected. He has also engaged in discussions with Pete Carroll regarding Seattle’s play-calling role. Lynn, 52, spent the past four seasons as the Chargers’ head coach. The Bolts fired him shortly after the season ended, moving to Brandon Staley.

Lynn took the Chargers to the playoffs in 2018, with a 12-4 record, and oversaw Justin Herbert‘s rapid development this past season. However, Lynn was not the Bolts’ primary play-caller. He spent most of the 2016 season calling plays in Buffalo, after an early-season promotion to offensive coordinator.

A former decorated college quarterback, Dorsey has been an NFL QBs coach since the 2013 season. He is one of many players and staffers to migrate from Charlotte to Buffalo, working as Panthers QBs coach for five seasons before signing on with the Bills to work in that same role in 2019.

The centerpiece of Dorsey’s credentials for a coordinator move will obviously be Josh Allen‘s rise from inaccurate prospect to MVP candidate over the past year. However, Dorsey was also with Carolina during the franchise’s most recent Super Bowl season — when Cam Newton soared to MVP honors in 2015. Dorsey, 39, interviewed for the Bills’ OC position in 2017 but has worked under current Buffalo play-caller Brian Daboll over the past two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Zack Moss Undergoes Minor Ankle Surgery

  • Bills running back Zack Moss underwent minor surgery on his ankle this morning, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 23-year-old is expected to make a full recovery from the “tight rope procedure,” and he should be ready to go for offseason workouts. The third-rounder finished his rookie campaign having compiled 576 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

Brian Daboll Staying With Bills

Before the Chargers surprisingly hired Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to be their new head coach last night, Bills OC Brian Daboll was widely considered the favorite for that job. After missing out on the opportunity to coach Justin Herbert, it sounds like Daboll is going to ride things out in Buffalo and wait until next year for a head coaching gig. A source close to Daboll said he’ll “be the big name for head coach next year,” per Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link).

That would seem to indicate that Daboll isn’t a serious candidate for, or isn’t interested in, the Texans and Eagles jobs, which are the only two real openings left with the Lions expected to hire Dan Campbell. Russini also notes that agents and other candidates around the league viewed the Staley hire as a surprise as well. Daboll also interviewed with the Jets before they hired Robert Saleh. Widely praised for his work in developing Josh Allen into a top-tier quarterback, it looks like the Allen/Daboll partnership in Buffalo will live on for at least another year, which is music to the ears of Bills fans. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle later confirmed in a tweet that Daboll will in fact return on Sean McDermott’s staff in 2021.

Leslie Frazier Texans Hire Gaining Steam?

Although the Texans changed course and submitted a request to speak with Bieniemy, as they deal with a disgruntled Deshaun WatsonCBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora notes that interview is doubtful to commence. With the Chiefs’ bye week over, any team wishing to meet with Bieniemy going forward must wait until Kansas City’s season ends. If the No. 1-seeded Chiefs make it back to the Super Bowl, the remaining jobs may be filled by then. Three teams have filled their positions; the Lions are soon expected to hire Saints assistant Dan Campbell; the Chargers may be zeroing in on Bills third-year OC Brian Daboll. This would leave only the Houston and Philadelphia jobs available. Though Bieniemy not being his team’s primary play-caller makes him an atypical HC candidate from the offensive side of the ball, it would certainly be strange if he exited another offseason without landing a coaching gig.

  • Staying with the Texans, they will interview another Bills coordinator this weekend. They will speak with Buffalo DC Leslie Frazier on Sunday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Frazier, who has been Buffalo’s defensive play-caller, has re-emerged on the HC radar after four seasons as Buffalo’s DC under Sean McDermott. Support is building for Frazier with the Texans, La Canfora notes. Since the Vikings ended Frazier’s three-plus-year run as their head coach after the 2013 season, he has been a coordinator for two teams (the Bucs and Bills) and coached the Ravens secondary in between.

Bills OC Brian Daboll Is “Favorite” For Chargers HC Job

Brian Daboll could soon be heading to the west coast. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Bills offensive coordinator “has emerged as a favorite” for the Chargers head-coaching gig.

Predictably, the Chargers organization is waiting to see how tonight’s Bills game goes before making any moves. If Buffalo loses, Los Angeles can offer Daboll the job as soon as possible. If the Bills win, then the organization has to wait until Buffalo is eliminated before they can negotiate a contract with their new head coach.

As Schefter notes, there are two logical reasons why Daboll has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacancy. For starters, Daboll received a lot of credit for Josh Allen‘s emergence this season, and the Chargers are hoping the coach can help Justin Herbert take the next step. Daboll also went to high school and played football with Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, so there’s an obvious connection there.

Daboll, 45, started his NFL coaching career back in 2000 with the Patriots. He got his first coordinator gig with the Browns in 2009, and he’s since held the same role with the Dolphins, Chiefs, and the Bills (along with Alabama). Daboll was mentioned as a candidate for the Jets vacancy, and he was one of the nine reported candidates for the Chargers job. As our 2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker shows, that list includes:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.