Bills agree to hire Rick Dennison as offensive coordinator

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Newly hired Bills coach Sean McDermott is placing his trust in former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison to oversee Buffalo's run-heavy attack.

And it might help, too, that Dennison has a connection to quarterback Tyrod Taylor, whose long-term future has been in question in Buffalo.

The Bills on Thursday announced an agreement to hire Dennison as their offensive coordinator. He has 22 years of NFL coaching experience, including the past two running the Broncos' offense.

Dennison fills a key role on the Bills' staff since McDermott was hired last week to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired in the final week of December. The 42-year-old McDermott is a defensive specialist in taking over as a first-time head coach.

Dennison inherits a LeSean McCoy-led offense which has topped the NFL in yards rushing in each of the past two seasons, and also scored a league-high 29 touchdowns rushing last year.

Buffalo is coming off a 7-9 finish and extended the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons.

One question mark remains quarterback, with the Bills having until mid-March to determine whether to activate the first year of the five-year contract extension Taylor signed in August.

Dennison was the Ravens' quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Taylor completed his fourth and final season in Baltimore as Joe Flacco's backup. Taylor signed with Buffalo the following offseason and has a 15-14 record as the team's two-year starter.

Receiver is another question mark. Starter Sammy Watkins' season was hampered by a nagging left foot injury, while Robert Woods and speedster Marquise Goodwin are eligible to become free agents in March.

Dennison has been a coach on Denver's three Super Bowl-winning teams: a year ago, and in 1997 and '98 as a special teams assistant.

Though the Broncos won the title a year ago, their offense struggled in in finishing 16th in yards gained and 19th in points scored during what became quarterback Peyton Manning's final season.

The Broncos (9-7) missed the playoffs this season, and their offense took a big step back with untested starter Trevor Siemian taking over at quarterback. With Dennison and head coach Gary Kubiak sharing the play-calling duties, Denver finished 27th in yards gained and 22nd in points scored.

Dennison's tenure in Denver ended with Kubiak retiring following the end of the season due to health concerns, and the team hiring Vance Joseph last week.

Dennison also worked under Kubiak as the Houston Texans' offensive coordinator from 2010-13.

Before coaching, Dennison was a Broncos linebacker during a nine-season career spanning 1982-90.

McDermott previously filled three spots on Buffalo's offensive staff, including hiring Juan Castillo to serve as offensive line coach and run-game coordinator.

Former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has been hired as Buffalo's defensive coordinator.

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