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Updating the Bills' coaching staff under Sean McDermott

Now that new Bills coach Sean McDermott has hired an offensive coordinator, the major pieces of his staff are in place.

Rick Dennison's addition Thursday as offensive coordinator was the biggest move McDermott had left to make, but there could be more coming. The Bills still have several holdovers from Rex Ryan's previous staff still listed on their website. It's possible some of them could be retained. If not, they'll be released from their contracts when replacements are identified by McDermott.

The Bills had a whopping 27 assistant coaches last season, a number well above the league average.

Here is a look at the 2017 coaching staff to this point, as compared to a year ago under Ryan:

Assistant head coach/defense

2017: Vacant
2016: Rob Ryan

Update: Don't expect this nepotistic position to be filled. Rob Ryan was fired at the same time as Rex. He did have an interview to become the Washington Redskins' defensive coordinator recently, but so far remains unemployed.

Assistant head coach/offense

2017: Vacant
2016: Chris Palmer

Update: It's unclear whether the Bills under McDermott will fill this position. Palmer has 25 years of NFL experience, having served as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Offensive coordinator

2017: Rick Dennison
2016: Greg Roman/Anthony Lynn

Update: Lynn, who served as the interim head coach for the season finale against the New York Jets, was a candidate for the permanent job, but was passed up for McDermott. He ended up becoming the Los Angeles Chargers' new head coach. Roman was hired by the Ravens to be a senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach.

Defensive coordinator

2017: Leslie Frazier
2016: Dennis Thurman

Update: Frazier comes to the Bills after coaching the Baltimore Ravens' secondary in 2016. He has 19 years of NFL experience, including three full years as coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Thurman is currently unemployed, although he interviewed Thursday for the Washington Redskins' defensive coordinator position.

Special teams

2017: Danny Crossman (coordinator)
2016: Danny Crossman (coordinator), Eric Smith (assistant), Kathryn Smith (quality control)

Update: McDermott announced he would retain Crossman for the coming season, meaning the Bills' special teams coordinator will now have worked under three head coaches, four if you include Lynn. No announcements have been made regarding Eric Smith and Kathryn Smith, but they are still listed on the team's website, and with Crossman back, could be retained.

Offensive line

2017: Juan Castillo
2016: Aaron Kromer

Update: Castillo, who came over from the Ravens, also has the title of run game coordinator. Kromer is rumored to be a candidate to become the Los Angeles Rams' offensive coordinator.


2017: Vacant
2016: David Lee

Update: This position is one of the biggest left to fill on McDermott's staff. Dennison does have experience working as a quarterbacks coach -- he did it with the Ravens in 2014 when Bills starter Tyrod Taylor was the backup there. Lee is still listed on the team's website and conceivably could be retained.

Tight ends

2017: Rob Boras
2016: Tony Sparano Jr.

Update: Boras comes to the Bills after serving as the Rams' offensive coordinator the last two seasons. Sparano Jr. is still listed on the Bills' website, but will reportedly be joining the Jaguars as an assistant offensive line coach, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Wide receivers

2017: Vacant
2016: Sanjay Lal

Update: Lal interviewed for the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles, but so far remains on the Bills' staff. He's well thought of among players. "That's one guy that I don't want to leave," Sammy Watkins said at the end of the 2016 season. "Probably if he leaves, then I don't know how my mindset will be, honestly. That's a guy that kind of groomed me into running routes and doing everything the right way -- mental, physical -- and if he leaves, that'll hurt. Because that's a guy that kind of helped this whole (receiver) group form a mentality and shape us to professionals. He gave us the whole script of off the field, on the field, and it's helping this wide receiver group and helping the players."

Running backs

2017: Kelly Skipper
2016: Anthony Lynn/Jason Vrable

Update: Skipper comes to the Bills after working in Jacksonville for the past two seasons. After Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator, Vrable moved from his job as assistant quarterbacks coach to help out as running backs coach. It's unclear if he'll have a role on McDermott's staff.

Offensive assistant

2017: Vacant
2016: Pat Meyer

Update: This is another Ryan-created position that could very well remain vacant. Meyer left to become the L.A. Chargers' offensive line coach under Lynn.

Defensive line

2017: Mike Waufle
2016: John Blake, Jason Rebrovich (assistant)

Update: Waufle comes to the Bills from the Rams. Rebrovich, a Clarence native, is joining the Jaguars, reuniting with Doug Marrone, according to Caplan.


2017: Bob Babich
2016: Bobby April III (inside), Jeff Weeks (outside)

Update: Babich comes to the Bills from the Chargers. Before that, he was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator. It's unlikely either April or Weeks will be retained by the Bills.

Defensive backs

2017: Vacant
2016: Tim McDonald, Ed Reed (assistant)

Update: Reed was a Ryan hire all the way, brought in to assist with the learning of the scheme. He wouldn't seem to fit the new coaching staff. McDonald's status is unclear at the moment.

Defensive assistant

2017: Vacant
2016: D'Anton Lynn

Update: Another nepotistic hire, Lynn could follow his father to Los Angeles. Even if he doesn't, it would be a surprise if here were back with the Bills.

Strength and conditioning

2017: Vacant
2016: Eric Ciano (head), Hal Luther (assistant),  Jason Oszvart (assistant), Mark Loecher (assistant), Dan Liburd (assistant).

Update: Ciano has been with the Bills since 2010, serving under Chan Gailey, Marrone and Ryan as head coaches. It's possible he and his staff remain in place under McDermott.

Coaching assistants

2017: Vacant
2016: Mike Giuliani, Zak Kromer

Update: Kromer is the son of former Bills' offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. He could follow him to Los Angeles if Aaron Kromer does indeed become the Rams' offensive coordinator.

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