CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was one of seven men to meet with the team regarding their head coaching vacancy, and while at first considered a longshot to win the job, he reportedly is a finalist, along with Josh McDaniels and Kevin Stefanski.
Why? Because Daboll has something that could be very beneficial to the franchise: the knowledge of how to get the most out of a young quarterback, just as he has done over the last two years with Bills signal-caller Josh Allen, a high first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“He will let his voice be heard when things aren’t done the right way in a training camp practice or an actual practice, but mostly, it’s building guys up,” Joe Buscaglia, Buffalo Bills reporter for The Athletic, said on “The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima” on Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan earlier this week.
“With Baker Mayfield, he would absolutely play to his strengths. That’s the one area that’s been impressive with him. He has based his entire offense around Josh Allen as opposed to trying to stick Josh Allen into his principles as a play-caller. I think he would absolutely do the same thing for Baker Mayfield.”
After completing just 52.8 percent of his passes (169 of 320) for 2,074 yards and 10 touchdowns against 12 interceptions as a rookie, Allen saw significant increases in passing production and a sharp decrease in turnovers in year two with the Bills.
In 16 games under Daboll’s leadership in 2019, Allen completed 271 of his 461 attempts (58.8 percent) for 3,089 yards and 20 touchdowns against nine interceptions with 47 20-yard plays and seven 40-yard throws despite taking 10 more sacks (38) than he did as a rookie.
Additionally, Allen rushed for nine touchdowns, 510 yards and 41 first downs on 109 carries in 2019, a season that ended with Buffalo’s second postseason trip in three years.
“He oversaw the development of Josh Allen over the course of the season,” Buscaglia said. “Now, I know you look at the raw data, the statistics of everything the Bills did offensively this year, and it leaves you less than enthused, but when you look at the process behind it, Brian Daboll actually did a really nice job this year bringing Josh Allen along.
“Allen, throughout the season, grew as a decision-maker in his pre-snap reads. He cut down on his turnovers. His footwork has gotten better since Brian Daboll began working hands on him. His processing time, the time in which he has held onto the ball, has gotten better since Daboll showed up, so if you’re looking for someone who has a way with a young quarterback, then he is certainly a nice candidate to consider.”
Mayfield and the Browns’ offense has some growing pains during the 2019 season.
Mayfield completed 317 of his 534 attempts (59.4 percent) for 3,827 yards and 22 touchdowns against 21 interceptions in 2019 after completing 310 of his 486 throws (63.8 percent) with an NFL rookie-record 27 touchdowns against 14 picks.
“I like how he was not hell-bent on just one offensive scheme and very much lined it up for the opponents, used specific packages to attack the opponents’ weaknesses,” Buscaglia said. “A lot of times, they were able to do some nice things on offense because of it.”