GOOD NEWS: Although McDermott acknowledges the displeasure of Bills…

Although McDermott acknowledges the displeasure of Bills supporters, he believes in Ken Dorsey.

Ken Dorsey - Wikipedia
ORCHARD PARK – For any Buffalo Bills fan hoping that coach Sean McDermott will make a change at offensive coordinator and either fire or take play-calling duties away from Ken Dorsey, that’s not happening.

“No,” was McDermott’s succinct answer when those questions were asked of him Monday afternoon as he met via Zoom with reporters to further explain what happened in Buffalo’s 24-18 loss to the Bengals Sunday night.

“Well, I get it. I understand everyone’s frustration, I absolutely do,” he said regarding the criticism that has been lobbed at Dorsey at times this season which reached a crescendo Sunday night and into the Monday aftermath. “And we’re working extremely hard to make the adjustments we have to make. And Ken is doing the same. So I remain confident in Ken and our offensive staff, and we continue to work hard at improving and getting the results we need.”

Dorsey has had a target on his back because the Bills’ offense has lacked precision and explosiveness for six of the nine games and more than anything, those struggles have led to four defeats, already one more than the Bills had in all of 2022.

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In the losses to the Jets, Jaguars, Patriots and Bengals the Bills have averaged 20 points per game. In the wins over the Raiders, Commanders, Dolphins, Giants and Buccaneers, they have averaged 32.2 points but really, the bulk of that came in those first three wins.

Sunday night, even quarterback Josh Allen seemed perplexed with why the Bills got away from the up-tempo approach they used to score a touchdown on their first possession of the game when they easily moved 85 yards downfield in just seven plays.

“Just the game plan that we had going into it,” he said.

Why did the Buffalo Bills back away from up-tempo play?

Dorsey said Monday part of the reason for the change in philosophy had to do with the lousy field position the Bills were in most of the night. Their average drive start was the 20, and three possessions commenced at the 9, 12 and 9.

“We were in some backed up situations so we couldn’t quite get into the tempo stuff at times there,” he said. “We definitely started off in it this past game. We realized it was effective for us, but at times the crowd noise became a factor with the communication in some of those backed up situations.

“It’s something we want to continue to utilize, we just have to make sure we’re effective in what we do and stay on the field. The big thing for us is when we start racking plays together, then you start getting into that rhythm. We need to find a way to get into that groove, however it is.”

But again, they had that rhythm, that groove, on the first drive and then got away from it, and if field position and crowd noise were the reasons, that doesn’t really make much sense, and what made even less sense was something McDermott said about that Monday.

“Basically the long and short of it is wanting to get to some other styles of play as opposed to the quicker, up tempo, no huddle, or version of no huddle,” McDermott said. “Just some things that we can look at and examine as we move forward really more than anything.”

To translate the coachspeak, it seemed like McDermott said that even though the up tempo approach worked on that first possession, they wanted to experiment with other things? What?

Essentially, I think the point McDermott was making is that he didn’t want the offense to be completely reliant on the passing game like it was on that first drive, knowing that Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo would eventually have solutions for his defense.

He wanted Dorsey to try to balance things with the run game and keep Anarumo guessing, but that never had a chance because the Bengals were winning the line of scrimmage and James Cook and Latavius Murray combined for just 24 yards rushing on eight attempts.

Dorsey admitted that he believes it’s important to “Make sure we’re balanced in our approach. The big thing for us is not to become one-dimensional and predictable. We’ve got to be able to do that to keep the defense off balance and we have to do that in a way that’s efficient for us while still being able to generate some explosive chunk plays. We’ve got to find ways to do that.”

However, they haven’t been succeeding. The Bills offense looks stagnant, and it also seems like opposing defenses have figured out ways to slow it down faster than Dorsey has been able to find the counter moves to answer what defenses are doing.

“I think it starts with our level of execution, our level of complementary football,” McDermott said. “As I mentioned (Sunday) evening, it’s hard to win when you turn the ball over twice and you lose the field position battle by 12 yards approximately. There’s a formula here we’ve used for winning and we’ve got to execute that.”

Allen looked frustrated after the game, and center Mitch Morse admitted that things have been difficult lately because the offense isn’t used to struggling this way.

“I think for us, it’s not letting frustration compound into how we approach our work, what works and how to do it,” he said. “It’s very frustrating. Things have happened in an untimely manner. We all shot ourselves in the foot. It’s something we’ll have to take a look at.”

Dorsey remains steadfast that the players believe in the system and that he, and they, will be able to get things back on track.

“I think they’ve got a lot of faith in who we are and what we’re about,” Dorsey said. “We’ve got a mentally tough group, a group of guys who have been through things together, been through some ups and downs and good and bad. We’re able to come together for one common goal and that’s win a football game.”

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