Bills Part Ways with Rick Dennison

Offensive coordinator let go after one season

Tom Puckett
January 12, 2018 - 11:47 am
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Orchard Park, NY (WBEN/AP) Despite ending the playoff drought, the Buffalo Bills are cleaning house in the coaching department. Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison has been let go after one season.

The team announced the move on Friday. Their running attack fell to sixth after leading the league the past two seasons and finished 29th overall on offense. Buffalo's offense topped 300 yards just nine times in 17 games and scored only eight touchdowns in its final seven games. Dennison's play-calling was questioned after Buffalo scored just three points against Jacksonville in the franchise's first playoff game in 18 years.

Dennison wasn't coach Sean McDermott's first choice for the job last offseason - that was former San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy. But McCoy took the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator job and was fired midseason. McCoy is expected to be a candidate to join McDermott's staff in Buffalo. Other possible candidates include former Seattles Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Rob Cudzinski. Mike Shula, the former offensive coordinator in Carolina, previously worked with McDermott and Bills general manager Brandon Beane.

McDermott was non-committal when discussing potential coaching staff changes during the season-ending news conference on Tuesday. The coach said any decisions would be his, but Beane would be involved with coordinating possible coaching changes with roster moves this offseason. "We're building this thing together," McDermott said then. "We are aligned philosophically on how we believe it should look and how we believe the building process should basically take shape."
   

Dennison was criticized for giving quarterback Tyrod Taylor the option to pass on first-and-goal from the 1 instead of handing the ball off to star running back LeSean McCoy in the wild-card game against Jacksonville. The play resulted in an offensive pass interference penalty on wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and the Bills settled for a field goal in the 10-3 loss. "There's some calls we want back. That's probably one of them," McDermott said after the game.
  

The decision to part ways with Dennison also raised questions about the future of Taylor, who has one year left on his contract. Taylor's production declined in his third year as a starter and he was benched in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman for a game at the Los Angeles Chargers in November. The quarterback change backfired after Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss.

Dennison had spent the previous two seasons as Denver's offensive coordinator. He also spent time with the Houston and Baltimore coaching staffs. 

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