Bills Retain Key Coach After Patriots Pass Him Over For Job

Sean McDermott

Getty Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills runs on the field before a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Highmark Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.

The Buffalo Bills could have significant turnover on their offensive line next season, but will at least maintain some continuity in their coaching staff.

Buffalo’s assistant offensive line coach, Ryan Wendell, had interviewed with the New England Patriots to become their new offensive line coach. The Patriots announced that they hired former Oregon assistant Adrian Klemm for the job, reuniting him with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and allowing the Bills to keep a key member of their staff for a position in need of upgrades.

Former Patriots Lineman Sticking With Bills

Wendell was a strong candidate for New England’s job as he had a connection to head coach Bill Belichick and a history with the franchise. He played nine seasons with the Patriots, starting at right guard and serving as captain during their Super Bowl season in 2014-15.

Wendell is now a rising coach within the Bills organization, first joining Sean McDermott’s staff as a coaching assistant in 2019 before being promoted to assistant offensive line coach the next year. He remained in the position after the Bills made a change to the position group, moving on from previous offensive line coach Bobby Johnson after his contract expired at the conclusion of last season and instead hiring Aaron Kromer.

It was a return for Kromer, who spent the 2015-16 season in Buffalo under head coach Rex Ryan. Upon his return, Kromer said the franchise is in a much better place.

“I believe that – not comparing the two – this team and organization now is really checking every box from the top down,” Kromer told the Buffalo News last year. “They are making sure everything is done. Every ‘t’ is crossed, every ‘i’ is dotted, and with that they’ve created a culture of winning. They’ve gathered good players, good coaches. It’s built a wonderful, successful program. Obviously, this is a good football team run by good people. You could tell how well things are being run at this point.”

Changes Likely Coming for Bills Offensive Line

Wendell’s likely retention could be important for a Bills’ unit expected to undergo some changes. The interior of the Bills’ offensive line was a weak point at times, especially in the playoffs where the Miami Dolphins set a franchise record with seven sacks in the Super Wild Card round. The Cincinnati Bengals also hounded Allen in Buffalo’s divisional-round loss.

Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News predicted that the Bills could make a big upgrade, using their first-round draft pick to take University of Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence. Gaughan noted that the Bills could use some reinforcement to deal with the “superstar defensive tackles” of the AFC East, including Quinnen Williams of the New York Jets, Christian Wilkins of the Miami Dolphins and Christian Barmore of the Patriots.

“He has big hands, he has long arms, he engulfs you,” player development expert Paul Alexander, who coached the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line for 24 years, told Gaughan. “He’s got explosiveness and quickness. I think he’d be a great pick for the Buffalo Bills where they’re picking, because that’s about where he’s going to go.”

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