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How will Bills' hiring of Daboll impact plans to develop rookie QB?

By hiring Brian Daboll as his new offensive coordinator, Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott was out to get more than someone to help revive the team's stagnant offense.

McDermott also wanted a vital coaching component for developing a rookie quarterback the Bills are likely to select in the draft, as well as bringing the best out of any other QB on the roster.

For all of Daboll's vast experience with overseeing offenses and working with young quarterbacks, including his previous OC role at the University of Alabama, it won't be his job alone.

In fact, a significant part of those duties will be handled by the quarterbacks coach, a position David Culley has held with the Bills for one season. It's fair to say, after last year's 31st ranking in the NFL, the Bills' passing game struggled mightily under the combined guidance of Culley and former offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

Before joining the Bills, the 62-year-old Culley was a career wide receivers coach in the league. He guided that position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1994-95), Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-98), Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2012), and Kansas City Chiefs (2013-16). His only previous stints as a quarterbacks coach were at Middle Tennessee State (1982) and Southwestern Louisiana (1985-88).

Coaching wasn't the only reason for the Bills' poor passing game.

Tyrod Taylor's ineptitude was a huge factor. He threw for a paltry 2,799 yards and 14 touchdowns. He only had four interceptions, although that reflected more on his overly cautious tendencies and unwillingness to trust his arm to beat coverages. Inadequate receiving contributed to the Bills' shortcomings through the air as well.

But neither that nor Taylor's performance can overshadow the fact the Bills were let down by the collective efforts of Dennison and Culley.

The question is, will McDermott be inclined to make a clean sweep of the top two coaching roles in the passing game?

Coach movement throughout the NFL remains fluid with only two of seven openings having been officially filled. Hires tend to have a domino effect on other staffs, something that bears watching with multiple leading candidates for head-coaching jobs involved in Sunday's conference championship games.

How much blame Culley should get for Taylor having career starting lows for passing yards and touchdowns and a career high with 46 sacks is debatable. Some of it was Taylor simply demonstrating exactly why the Bills are all but certain to move on from him. But if there were ways in which the Bills could have squeezed more out of Taylor's limitations as a thrower, Culley certainly didn't find them. Neither did Dennison.

Daboll isn't recognized as any sort of quarterback guru. His strengths are in devising ways to best attack opposing defenses and formulating strategies that take full advantage of his offense's strengths and hide weaknesses. He works closely with the quarterback, particularly when it comes to identifying what plays the QB would be the most comfortable with Daboll calling.

In all likelihood, however, Daboll will leave addressing the technical aspects of the position to someone else.

"I don't know how in-depth he'll be in regards to the fundamentals," retired quarterback Brady Quinn, who had Daboll as his OC with the Cleveland Browns (2009) and Kansas City Chiefs (2012), said by phone. "That usually is reserved for the quarterback coach. To me, it largely will be trying to get a sense of what that quarterback can do, what he feels comfortable with doing and how much can he can handle."

Quinn believes, although Daboll spent his first 17 years as a full-time coach in the NFL, he made his greatest strides in that area this past season at Alabama.

"And I actually think, coming from Alabama and given the scenario that he was working with down there, it will be invaluable for this opportunity because he was just at the college ranks," Quinn said. "I think he's got a good feel for what those guys can handle, given the fact that he worked with a second-year quarterback in (the Crimson Tide's) Jalen Hurts, who had a different skill set than a freshman quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, the kid who leads them to the win in the championship.

"(Daboll) will be ready to handle, whether it's a guy they draft, whether it's Tyrod Taylor that they bring back as a veteran guy with plenty of experience but a different skill set than maybe drafting someone who's more of a drop-back passer or a pocket passer with not as much athleticism. I think he's been tested and he's been around enough where he'll be able to handle how you go about game-planning and how you go about preparing those guys for each scenario."

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