Ken Dorsey

Ken Dorsey To Serve As Bills’ Passing Game Coordinator

The Bills have appointed Ken Dorsey as their passing game coordinator, as Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 tweets. It’s a new title for the former quarterback, who serves as the team’s QBs coach.

The new position presumably comes with a pay bump. The Bills nearly lost the former University of Miami passer this year as he garnered interest from the Seahawks and Lions. Ultimately, Dorsey stayed put to serve under Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, but both clubs saw him as a potential fit for their OC vacancies.

Dorsey has been an NFL QBs coach since 2013. He spent five years with the Panthers before following the pipeline up north, joining his former bosses in Buffalo. Dorsey was with Carolina during the franchise’s most recent Super Bowl season, when Cam Newton soared to MVP honors in 2015. Since then, he’s raised his stock even further, taking Josh Allen from an inaccurate prospect to an MVP candidate.

Dorsey, 40, figures to be a hot candidate in the next cycle as well. But, for now, he’ll stay put in Buffalo with an even larger role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

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.

Staff Notes: Bills, Taylor, 49ers, Ryan, Eagles

Another former Panthers assistant will land a job on the Bills‘ coaching staff. Buffalo hired Ken Dorsey to be its quarterbacks coach. A former Miami Hurricane standout, prior to his days with the 49ers and Browns, Dorsey spent five seasons as the Panthers’ QBs coach. In 2018, the 37-year-old coach was on Appalachian State’s staff. Dorsey will take over for David Culley, who is now on Baltimore’s staff. The Bills also promoted Chad Hall to wide receivers coach. The 32-year-old former NFLer spent his first two seasons in coaching as a Bills offensive assistant. Another hire the Bills announced this week: bringing in Terry Heffernan to be their assistant offensive line coach. Heffernan has NFL coaching experience, being a Lions staffer earlier this decade, but spent the past three years at Division I-FCS Eastern Kentucky. Heffernan coached under new Bills offensive line coach Bobby Johnson in Detroit.

None of the offensive coaches who have been hired or promoted have a direct tie to second-year OC Brian Daboll, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Two teams have yet to hire their head coaches, but the Bengals will look to finalize their agreement with Zac Taylor soon after Super Bowl LIII. The Rams’ quarterbacks coach will travel to Cincinnati on Monday, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweeting the parties will make their pending partnership official.
  • Rob Ryan initiated the process that ended with him becoming the Redskins‘ new inside linebackers coach. The former defensive coordinator said Kirk Olivadotti‘s decision to take a job with the Packers prompted him to reach out to the Redskins about a job, Ryan said on NBC Sports Washington‘s Redskins Talk podcast. Ryan interviewed with the Redskins twice in the past but has never worked with the franchise.
  • Kyle Shanahan was a bit surprised teams aggressively pursued members of his coaching staff, considering the 49ers went 4-12 this season. “It was a little unexpected,” Shanahan said during an interview with KNBR (via NBC Sports Bay Area). “I didn’t think our staff was going to get raided after a 4-12 year, so that caught me off a little bit.” The Broncos did the main raiding, hiring Rich Scangarello and T.C. McCartney. The Packers also hired Adam Stenavich to become their offensive line coach. Shanahan also denied permission for the Vikings and Packers to interview Mike LaFleur and did not allow Mike McDaniel to speak with the Cardinals, citing neither offensive assistant being up for a play-calling role with one of those teams.
  • San Francisco also lost another assistant, but this time to the college ranks. Defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will become the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State.
  • The Eagles will swap out assistant offensive line coaches. After Eugene Chung‘s contract expired, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro notes the Eagles will hire Roy Istvan to replace him. Istvan will come all the way up from the NAIA level, having coached most recently at Florida’s Keiser University. However, he spent time with Philadelphia offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland in the distant past, playing for Stoutland at Southern Connecticut in the 1980s and then breaking into coaching during Stoutland’s stay as that program’s OC. This will be Istvan’s first NFL job.

Falcons To Interview Bevell, Dorsey

The Falcons are interviewing multiple free agent coaches for their vacant quarterbacks coach position. Recently fired assistants Darrell Bevell and Ken Dorsey are set to interview for the post, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Bevell has spent the past 12 seasons as an offensive coordinator, with the Vikings from 2006-10 and Seahawks from 2011-17. He will interview for this lower-level perch nonetheless. Mike Shula won’t, however, with Ledbetter reporting the ex-Panthers offensive coordinator wants to catch on as an OC somewhere else.

The Falcons also interviewed Greg Knapp and Jedd Fisch for this job, one that’s becoming quite the competition. The Falcons already announced Steve Sarkisian will return for a second season as OC, and the team looks set to add a big name to work under him.

These coaches are vying to replace Bush Hamdan, who left at season’s end to become OC at the University of Washington.

Bevell last worked as a QBs coach from 2003-05, when he oversaw Brett Favre‘s work with the Packers. Dorsey coached Panthers passers from 2013-17. Bevell and Quinn worked together as coordinators in Seattle from 2013-14.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Fire OC Mike Shula

The Panthers announced that offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey have been fired. Mike Shula (vertical)

Shula spent the past seven seasons with the team, working as quarterbacks coach for two seasons before becoming offensive coordinator in 2013. Last year, Carolina finished 19th in total offense (323.7), 17th in offensive DVOA, fourth in rushing offense (131.4), 28th in passing (192.3), and 12th in points (22.7). Ultimately, it wasn’t good enough as the Panthers were eliminated in the first stage of the playoffs.

Dorsey has been the Panthers’ QBs coach for the last five seasons. Although he has groomed Cam Newton into one of the league’s finest quarterbacks, the Panthers believe that they can do better.

The staff shakeup comes just days after a multi-year extension for head coach Ron Rivera. Between the firing of Shula and Dorsey and the likely departure of Steve Wilks, the Panthers will see serious turnover in 2018.

The Panthers join the Bears, Browns, Packers, and Giants as teams in search of a new offensive coordinator.

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Coaching Rumors: Broncos, Giants, Cowboys

The Broncos have made an interesting set of choices in replacing fired offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, as the club announced that Sean Kugler has been hired as offensive line coach-guards/centers, while Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports that Chris Strausser — who spent the 2017 campaign as Denver’s assistant OL coach — will tutor the Broncos’ tackles (Twitter link). It’s a compelling set of hires, as hiring a combination of coaches to lead separate parts of one position unit is something that usually occurs on the defensive side of the ball (safeties/cornerbacks, outside/inside linebackers). Elsewhere on the Denver staff, former interim quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak is considered a candidate to become the the Broncos’ next wide receivers coach, tweets Mike Klis of 9News.

Here’s more on the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Former Broncos assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville was scheduled to interview for the Giants‘ head coaching vacancy over the weekend, but weather-related concerns forced that meeting to be pushed back. Instead, New York will interview Studesville on Tuesday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Studesville, who had been employed in Denver since 2010, was fired earlier this week. While he’s never been a head coach, the 50-year-old Studesville did serve as an interim HC during the 2010 campaign.
  • While the Raiders reportedly have interest in adding Cowboys running backs Gary Brown to Jon Gruden‘s staff, Dallas wants to keep Brown — who is a coaching free agent — as well, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Brown, who enjoyed a nine-year career as an NFL running back, first entered the coaching ranks with Cleveland in 2009. Oakland has been aggressive in hiring staffers under Gruden, as it’s agreed to bring in Greg Olson as offensive coordinator and Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator.
  • If Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur lands a head coaching gig in the coming weeks, he’s expected to bring Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey along with him, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Dorsey, 36, has spent his entire post-playing career in Carolina, first as a pro scout and now as QBs coach. He interviewed for the Bills’ offensive coordinator position in 2017, but Buffalo ultimately hired Rick Dennison.
  • The Bengals will interview Baylor wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell for the same position in Cincinnati, according to Marvez (Twitter link). Bicknell coached in the NFL from 2008-16, most recently with the 49ers, and interviewed with Chicago last offseason. Cincinnati, meanwhile, lost WRs coach James Urban to the division-rival Ravens.

Bills Interview Ken Dorsey For OC

New Bills head coach Sean McDermott is continuing his search for an offensive coordinator by interviewing Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey for the position on Wednesday, a source tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.Ken Dorsey (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

Buffalo has already struck out on several offensive coordinator candidates, with the latest being former Jaguars play-caller Greg Olson, who spurned the Bills in order to become the Rams’ quarterback coach. McDermott & Co. was also thought to have interest in Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Brad Childress, but a recent report indicated that Childress is no longer in contention for the position. Former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy was also considered a candidate, but he’s already been hired by Denver.

Dorsey, 35, has worked with McDermott in Carolina for the past several years — the former Miami Hurricane quarterback was initially hired as a pro scout before the Panthers named him their QBs coach in 2013. Dorsey, who carved out a six-year NFL as a backup signal-caller, helped lead Cam Newton to his MVP season in 2015 and has long been thought of as a future offensive coordinator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Bears, 49ers, Jets

After going 15-1 and losing the Super Bowl last season, the Panthers have taken a huge step back in 2016. The team enters the final week of the season with a 6-9 record, and both the offense and the defense rank towards the bottom half of the league in several team stats.

Despite the struggles, coach Ron Rivera indicated that he isn’t anticipating any changes to his coaching staff…as long as it’s his decision.

“Remember, it’s the same group that was 15-1, same group that led the league in scoring,” Rivera told Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “And in the last five years, we’ve had a top-10 defense. So as I look it and break things down, yeah, there’s some things that we have to work on and change. You guys heard me talk about evolving. We have to.”

As Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Rivera hasn’t stuck to similar promises in the past. For instance, the team relieved special teams coach Richard Rodgers of his duties following the 2014 campaign. Gantt believes that offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey could find themselves on the hot seat.

Let’s take a look at some other coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Things haven’t gone as planned during John Fox‘s second season with the Bears. The team is looking to avoid their worst 16-game record in franchise history, and blame will naturally lie on the head coach. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes that chairman George McCaskey will likely wait until the end of the season to make any decisions on his coaching staff’s fate. Campbell notes that the organization waited until the 2014 offseason to fire general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.
  • Eric Branch of SFGate.com wonders if head coach Chip Kelly‘s unwillingness to adjust his fast-paced gameplan could ultimately lead to his demise with the 49ers. As the writer notes, the coach wasn’t necessarily put in a position to succeed with a lack of talent on the roster. However, Campbell believes the coach’s devotion to his gameplan could come up during offseason discussions with CEO Jed York and a new general manager (assuming Trent Baalke is fired). For what it’s worth, Kelly hasn’t indicated that he’s willing to change his ways. “I think we always look at everything on a weekly basis trying to see how we can improve,” Kelly said following his team’s overtime loss to the Jets in early December. “You look at the game yesterday: It’s about making one more play than the other team. It’s not like we’re getting taken to the woodshed and don’t have an opportunity to compete and play.”
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan are expected to receive a “mulligan” from owner Woody Johnson for the team’s subpar performance this season, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. The writer acknowledges that it’s been a tough year for the organization, but he also notes that it’d be a knee-jerk reaction to fire the tandem after only two seasons.