Born in Ontario, the Canadian-American first started coaching in the collegiate ranks after getting his degree in economics. Daboll started off as a volunteer assistant coach at William & Mary (sidenote: William & Mary is a coaching pipeline, it’s astounding how many coaches that school has produced) under long-time coach Jimmye Laycock.
For a little bit of backstory, Daboll went to high school with Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, former Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell, former Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Polian, and former Nevada head coach and current Notre Dame special teams coach Brian Polian. Polian, the son of longtime NFL executive Bill Polian, recommended Daboll to Saban.
Working as a graduate assistant under Saban’s Spartans, Daboll impressed Saban-so much so that he invited Daboll to come work for him at LSU. Daboll declined and said he’d like to get into the NFL. Saban personally recommended Daboll to Bill Belichick (pretty strong recommendation if you ask me), so Belichick hired him as a defensive assistant in 2000.
A former safety in high school, Daboll assisted Eric Mangini in coaching the secondary for two years. Interestingly enough, while Daboll was working with the defense, Roman Phifer, the Broncos’ Senior Personnel Executive, was on the Patriots. Daboll was then moved over to wide receivers coach, coaching guys like Deion Branch, Troy Brown, and David Givens. Daboll was a part of three Super Bowl wins in New England, and Eric Mangini hired him to be his quarterbacks coach in 2007. In New York, Daboll was the quarterbacks coach of Chad Pennington & Kellen Clemens in 2007 and Brett Favre in 2008.
Mangini was fired from the Jets and hired by the Browns in 2009, and he took Daboll with him to be his offensive coordinator. The Browns were 31st in total offense and 29th in Offensive DVOA in 2008. Daboll’s first year didn’t end up much better, ranking dead last in total offense and 24th in Offensive DVOA. His second year, this time with Colt McCoy as his QB, the Browns finished 21st in Offensive DVOA.
From the Browns job, he was hired to be the Offensive Coordinator of the Dolphins in 2011, intersecting with Todd Bowles. Miami was starting the likes of Matt Moore and Chad Henne at quarterback, and predictably they ranked 20th in Offensive DVOA. After the new staff came in, Daboll was left to go become the Offensive Coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs under Romeo Crennel. With Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn at quarterback, the team went 2-14 and the offense was 31st in Offensive DVOA. RB Jamaal Charles had the most rushing yards of his career, but the offense struggled to score.
Seeking a new fresh start, Daboll reunited with Bill Belichick in 2013 as an assistant and tight ends coach. Working with Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, and Martellus Bennett through two more Super Bowls, Daboll was thought to be a candidate to replace Josh McDaniels as the offensive coordinator in New England.
Instead, Nick Saban reached out to name Daboll his Offensive Coordinator/quarterbacks coach after Lane Kiffin’s exit for Florida Atlantic. Mentoring Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, Daboll guided one of the best offenses in the nation to a National Championship win. After their massive comeback win off the arm of Tua Tagovailoa in the title game over Georgia, Daboll was hired by Sean McDermott to be the Offensive Coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. What’s cool about that? McDermott was at William & Mary at the same time as Brian Daboll. Talk about full circle.
Daboll has led the development of Josh Allen in the NFL and has orchestrated the Bills into one of the best offenses in the league. It’s that prowess that has so many teams intrigued by him. There’s something to be said about his previous stints as an OC, but considering he worked with little to no quarterback talent, including a 39-year-old Brett Favre, it’s tough to lay the blame solely at his feet.
I find it pretty intriguing that he’s been around so many excellent environments and cultures in his coaching career. From Saban to Belichick to McDermott, Daboll knows what a winning environment looks like. The other part that intrigues me the most is his experience on both sides of the ball. He isn’t a strictly offensive coordinator, spending several years coaching and learning defense under Saban and Belichick. That makes him one of my personal favorite candidates.
He doesn’t have any outright connections to Paton or the Denver job, but if this search is as exhaustive as Paton says it will be, then Daboll has to be on their radars. Saban recommended Daboll previously, and Paton worked with Saban in Miami. Could that be an option? Would he choose Denver over teams with promising young quarterbacks like Chicago or Jacksonville?
Potential Offensive Coordinator hires: Ken Dorsey, Buffalo Bills QBs coach/passing game coordinator; Chad Hall, Buffalo Bills Wide Receivers Coach; Ike Hilliard, Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receivers coach
Potential Defensive Coordinator hires: Derrick Ansley, Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Backs coach; Jerome Henderson, New York Giants Defensive Backs coach; Karl Dunbar, Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Line coach
Would you like it if the Broncos hired Brian Daboll as their next head coach?
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