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Bills beef up analytics department

The Buffalo Bills have again raided the front office of a division rival.

A team spokesman confirmed Tuesday that the organization has hired Dr. Dennis Lock as the team's director of football research and strategy. Lock previously worked as the Miami Dolphins' director of analytics since 2015, building that department from the ground up.

Lock has a doctorate from Iowa State University in statistics. A 2017 profile on him in The Ames Tribune detailed his numbers-heavy background. Both of Lock's parents have doctorates in mathematics, while his siblings have doctorates in statistics. The family even wrote a statistics textbook together, according to the article, with the co-authors Lock, Lock, Lock, Lock and Lock.

Dr. Dennis Lock was hired by the Dolphins while Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen was in Miami's front office. Earlier this year, the Bills lost national scout Marvin Allen to Miami when he became the Dolphins' assistant general manager. With the Dolphins, Lock was credited with leading the team to running back Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 1,272 yards in 2016.

The Bills have revamped their analytics department under General Manager Brandon Beane. Almost exactly a year ago, the team hired Luis Guilamo as its director of analytics. That move came shortly after the team dismissed former director of analytics Michael Lyons and system analyst Peter Linton, part of the "robust football analytics operation" put together by former team president Russ Brandon.

Speaking at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, Bills coach Sean McDermott explained that Guilamo would focus more on using analytics to make football decisions as opposed to primarily being involved with business decisions.

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