by Brad Gelber, Buffalo Sports Page
Friday morning the Bills announced that they were firing Offensive Coordinator, Rick Dennison. This move was one that many fans/media members had been calling for after a season that saw the Bills finish with the 29th overall rated offense (31st in passing.)
The issues that plagued Dennison all season were on display front and center during Sunday’s playoff game. Perplexing play calls and the inability to ever have any consistency were the themes repeated over and over and over all year long. Looking back, it’s easy to see why Dennison was rumored to be a back-up choice for Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane from the start. He never fit in with Tyrod and never made any effort to adapt his offense to the players he had on his roster. Interestingly enough, doing so is something McDermott holds near and dear to his heart.
“A coach adjusts to what he has and I just believe in that” was a direct quote from McDermott after being hired by the Bills last January. Dennison refused to do that, and he paid the ultimate price.
Some have argued that Dennison got a raw deal because of his QB’s limitations and while I understand that point of view, take a look at the numbers… they don’t lie. The first two seasons with Tyrod at QB, the Bills averaged 10th in points and 15th in yards. This year they were 22nd in points and 29th in yards. Greg Roman & Anthony Lynn catered their play-calling and offense to Tyrod and it worked. Dennison didn’t… and well, you get the picture. At the end of the day both the play-calling and QB play need to be improved, because neither was good enough, but using Tyrod as a case for why Dennison deserved to stick around is a weak argument in my eyes.
While I have been a big advocate of moving on from Dennison, the best part about the move in my eyes, has more to do with the message it sends. It once again shows that McDermott & Beane will not settle for the status quo. Unlike past regimes, they saw an issue and moved to resolve it. No waiting. No excuses. They promised a winner and are taking the necessary steps to get there.
They could have used making the playoffs as an excuse to take the easy road and keep Dennison around for at least another year. Lord knows that’s something Rex would have done. But instead they have decided they need more out of their offense. 3-points in a playoff game is unacceptable. Throwing the ball to Mike Tolbert when you are on the 1-yard line is unacceptable. Having people ask on a weekly basis, “what the hell is he doing?” is unacceptable. Perhaps the lone bright spot was allowing Kyle Williams to run the ball into the end-zone during Week 17. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Rick Dennison for that.
Now we sit back, “trust the process” and see who McDermott and Beane choose to run their offense this time around. Whether it’s John DeFilippo, Rob Chudzinski, Brian Daboll, or a person to be named later, the Bills have plenty of options in an OC heavy market. Whomever they decide, we just have to hope they end up being better than Rick Dennison, which should be a given, because they can’t get much worse.