Alabama Football: Former OC Daboll may regret choosing Buffalo over Tide


Reports surfaced that Alabama football’s former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was frustrated in Tuscaloosa. That’s likely not to change in Buffalo, NY.

In his first season with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Brian Daboll was able to help the offense become more dynamic and not as predictable. He helped Alabama football win its fifth national championship title in nine years. Then, as soon as it was over, Daboll decided to return closer to his roots.

Daboll was born in Southern Ontario, Canada and spent much of his educative years in Western New York; so, it may seem fitting that he decided to join the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League.

Yet, the pieces to the Bills’ puzzle seem more like squares trying to fit into round holes, lately.

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Buffalo, an organization notorious for having a stellar defense that grossly outmatches its offense, made 278 first downs this season. Their opponents made 348. Their starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 62.6% of his passes for 2 799 yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Sounds like their QB can control the ball, but that’s also the problem.

Taylor was 25th in the NFL for total passing yards. Sure, he had more yards than famous QB Aaron Rodgers and rookie phenom Deshaun Watson, but that’s because they were both on the shelf due to injury for most of the regular season. Taylor’s QB rating and other statistical measurements are around the same, leaving the impression that he may not be pulling the trigger on passes down the field.

The eye test was all anyone needed in the Bills’ recent playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Taylor barely ever made a secondary read that was deep in the Jaguars’ secondary. He completed 17 of 37 pass attempts for 134 yards and an interception, allowing the Buffalo offense to score just three points on a field goal. Jacksonville’s QB Blake Bortles outgained Taylor’s total yards with passes for 87 yards and rushing for 88 yards.

That’s right: Jacksonville’s QB gained more yards with his feet than with his arm and still beat Taylor and the Bills, 10-3. Buffalo may have had more time of possession and more first downs, but they could not find a way of getting in the end zone. Taylor was sacked twice and hit six times in the game.

Any of this sounding familiar to Alabama football fans?

That’s nothing new for Taylor, though. He was sacked 46 times in the regular season. He was third only to Indianapolis Colts’ QB Jacoby Brissett (52) and Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford (47) for being sacked. The Jacksonville playoff game was just the tip of the titanic iceberg, as Taylor was rocked with a concussion after a hit and never returned for the end of the game.

Alabama football’s quarterback situation had an eerie feel to Buffalo’s conundrum. Crimson Tide starting quarterback Jalen Hurts was also often criticized for not pulling the trigger on his passes. While Hurts made vast improvements to make more reads and find open receivers in his sophomore season, he still seemed to tuck the ball and run when the pressure was on.

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Hurts completed over 60% of his passes for 2 081 yards, 17 touchdowns, and just one interception. Hurts was even better at controlling the ball than Taylor was, rushing for eight touchdowns and 855 yards. He also was sacked 24 times for big losses.

This season’s national championship only highlights the issue. Alabama football head coach Nick Saban decided that the true freshman Tua Tagovailoa needed to enter the second half of the game, when Hurts seemed stuck in run mode. Hurts was not throwing the ball in seemingly obvious passing plays that were called. The decision paid off, as Tagovailoa threw the ball deep down the throats of the Georgia Bulldogs defense and won the title.

So, where does that leave Daboll?

Regardless of the reports surfacing that Daboll and Saban may or may not have had their disagreements about the QB position this season, it still does not explain Daboll’s desire to sign with Buffalo. It’s one thing to want to return home, to a geographically familiar place near family and friends, but it’s another to return to a frustrating situation.

If Daboll was frustrated that Tua Time did not happen sooner, then why go to the Bills? Buffalo relies on their running game to move the ball, with Taylor expected to not mess up if he wasn’t willing to throw the ball. How is that any different than if one was to assume the rumors about Daboll’s evaluation of Hurts to be true?

Whether Hurts remains the starting quarterback at Alabama or Tagovailoa takes over, it seems that Daboll had a chance to have a quality quarterback who would have to learn or would already know how to throw the ball down the field. Daboll should already know that he doesn’t have that kind of quarterback in Buffalo, making his decision a very odd one to say the least.

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Unless the Bills draft a top prospect quarterback, it looks like it would be more of the same for Daboll in Buffalo. If he couldn’t stomach a running quarterback who only made a few reads down the field, then a big helping of Tyrod Taylor is going to make Daboll regret regaining a seat at the NFL dinner table.

By the way, the Bills have just the 21st and 22nd picks in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. Top prospect QBs usually don’t last that long.