New Staff Taking Shape

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean Mcermott is building his inaugural coaching staff with key attributes of familiarity, experience, and results.

Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott is putting the coaching pieces together that will make up his first season. With 24 unrestricted free agents, these hires and their make up are going to play a major role in the 2017 Bills roster.

When a coach interviews for any head coaching job they will have a list of coaches that they intend to bring with them. Once the official announcement comes, its a race to see how many coaches the new head coach can actually get. The hardest part is that all the other new head coaches are trying to do the same, often with the same desired assistants.

Familiarity and Experience

The Bills officially hired three coaches who were probably presented by McDermott in interviews from his list. They all have familiarity coaching with McDermott or working with each other.

Initially there were rumors of former San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy joining the staff as offensive coordinator. The race was on, but McCoy ended up going back to Denver with their new head coach.

Missing on McCoy makes the hiring of new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier more important.  McDermott could have hired a coach from Carolina who would be a first time coordinator, but went with Frazier.  Take a common sense approach — you’re a first time head coach, hiring an ex-Head Coach makes sense to you with experience and a sounding board to situations you may endure.

Those three hires set the tone for the culture that McDermott will want to establish.  He has familiarity with them, and they have NFL coaching experience. It’s already a much better direction than the last two regimes.  First time NFL Head Coach Doug Marrone, built a staff that featured a lot of key coaches from his Syracuse staff, who didn’t have NFL coaching experience.  They learned on the job here in Buffalo.

Rex Ryan’s loyalty built his Buffalo staff. With the exception of holdover Special Team Coordinator Danny Crossman, and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, the rest of the Ryan staff were the same exact coaches he just failed with on the New York Jets.  Rex simply couldn’t ‘fire’ anybody due to his loyalty(which is very admirable). When his defense failed in year 1, he added his brother.  Never removing the incumbent and powerless DC Dennis Thurman, leaving 3 defensive play-callers.  His staff become too large leading to confusion on the field.


McDermott is building a staff with a clean slate.  He is analyzing each position and coach individually, as well as bringing in his guys. He is doing this systemically without showing loyalty beyond trying to be successful.  This coaching staff, won’t get too large due to loyalty, beyond on-field performance.

And then there is the most recent hiring of defensive line Coach Mike Waufle. McDermott’s first three coaches haven’t worked with him in the past, however, here he is.

Be sure to watch the latest season of HBO’s Hard Knocks, where Waufle was defensive line Coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Didn’t Bills players say the team needed a more discipline and detail oriented coaching style?  Well here comes Waufle who is known for both of those things and a drill sergeant style approach.

Waufle brings a background of results to the Bills. He is a former Marine, whose hiring may be a message for players to show more discipline off the field. This hiring reveals that McDermott is taking the Bills players opinions into account.

Waufle benefited from a talented Rams defensive line featuring Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn.  The Bills have an equally talented defensive line featuring first round talents like Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes, and Shaq Lawson.

Familiarity, experience, and results, that’s the initial criteria for a McDermott staff.

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