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Bills OC Ken Dorsey working through adjustments in new role

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New role, same QB

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey works with quarterback Josh Allen (17) during OTA's at the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse in Orchard Park, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

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Even if Buffalo Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins always will remember Brian Daboll’s play-calling fondly, he is ready to see Ken Dorsey take over as the Bills offensive coordinator. The transitive property of a quarterback’s love means Dawkins is already in Dorsey’s corner.

“Dabes had plays where I got to catch a football,” Dawkins said Tuesday. “So that's my dog forever. But Dorsey does a great job. Josh (Allen) loves him, so we love him.”

The Bills are a few days into their voluntary organized team activities, giving Dorsey a chance to morph the Buffalo offense to match his vision. So does Dawkins lobby to Dorsey to keep “the Dawkins pass” in the playbook while he has the chance?

“Nah. Nah … nah, nah, nah,” Dawkins said, in a tone that became less convincing with each denial.

“It's a lot of fun that goes into it,” Dawkins continued. “I would love to catch – I would love to break the record. But I'm here to protect Josh. At the end of the day, I'm here to protect Josh. And as long as I could protect Josh, I'm happy.”

Dawkins then looked directly toward the camera that could document his noble request.

“But, uh, shoot, Dorse, if you want to …” Dawkins said, his voice trailing off. “Nah, I'm just playing. But yeah, just protect 17.”

Allen is excited for Dorsey to start calling plays. He’s worked with Dorsey since 2019, so there’s no major shift in terminology to work through. Still, Allen says “it’s been different,” and he knows that’s what this time of year is for.

“It's going to take time,” Allen said. “Even today I was just like, ‘Hey, I want you talking to me in the headset, and just let me hear your voice.’ Because that's going to be a little bit of an adjustment and curve. When you talk into a microphone, it sounds a little different, and some words become different words and you got to decipher what that means.”

There’s other tangible differences. Dawkins sees one besides the vocal distinction.

“Dorsey is like six-foot-20, and Dabes was like five-foot-five,” Dawkins said.

But housed inside those heads that stand at different levels, Dawkins sees a critical similarity.

“They're both masterminds,” Dawkins said. “If that's how I could connect them both, they’re both masterminds.”

Coach Sean McDermott knows that it will take time for the offense to adjust under Dorsey. Daboll was the offensive coordinator for four years, meaning he’s the only OC Allen has played under. Continuity has been such a key to Allen’s development, and promoting Dorsey from within reinforced that.

It’s not the only notable transition on a coaching staff that hasn’t seen many major shake ups since McDermott arrived. Matt Smiley has taken over as special teams coordinator, with Heath Farwell now in Jacksonville. While it’s still early in offseason activities, McDermott sees both coaches working through initial growing pains.

“You’re seeing Dorsey out there and Matt Smiley, and so there’s some newness to what they’re doing and their drills that they like and how they want to do things in terms of running the offense or the special teams,” McDermott said Tuesday.

“But there’s that newness, I think it causes a little bit of uncertainty maybe on the front end, but we work through that and they’re finding their cadence and their rhythm, and I think that’ll continue through the spring and on into training camp.”

Allen was quick to lobby for Dorsey to get the promotion to offensive coordinator, even if that meant Dorsey would spend less time in the quarterback room. Allen believes Dorsey’s game planning will not just continue to benefit him, but the Bills' offense as a whole.

“He's played quarterback, he understands what it's like when we're back there,” Allen said. “So, to have that open relationship and the rapport with him and then for him to understand what we're seeing at the same time and not just expecting us to do something that he hasn’t, or he wouldn't do. I think that’s the main, the most important thing, and he's been doing a really good job with it.”

Though Dorsey has spent the bulk of his time working with the Bills quarterback room, he’s no stranger to the rest of the offense. After Stefon Diggs signed his four-year extension last month, the wide receiver noted how he talks to Dorsey every day.

“We crack a joke every morning,” Diggs said in April, “And that was before he became the OC.”

Diggs thinks that foundation will help on the field. He’s already more than comfortable telling Allen what he likes, but Diggs now can be more in Dorsey’s ear.

“I was having conversations with him (Dorsey) in the season, as far as like what plays and what routes that I like,” Diggs said, “And he was like, ‘Well, we can do it this way, we can do it that way,’ and just having that creative offensive mind, it got me excited.”

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