The Buffalo Bills filled two coaching vacancies on Friday, hiring Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator and Todd Downing as the new QB coach. Hiring Schwartz as the defensive coordinator is certainly the bigger news, but the hiring of Downing should help EJ Manuel and the Bills offense develop in 2014.
Downing has been coaching in the NFL for the past 12 years. He has been on the Lions coaching staff for the past five seasons and has spent the past four years as the QB coach, where he worked with Matthew Stafford. While working with Downing, Stafford has achieved many great career accomplishments. Stafford became one of four quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season, he is the fastest player to reach 16,000 passing yards, and he holds numerous franchise records for the Lions. Prior to joining the Lions, Downing got his start in the NFL with the Vikings and also worked with the Rams.
The hiring should help Nathaniel Hackett focus more on running the offense. From buffalobills.com:
Since I got here (last year) there have been nine quarterbacks in the building. Even if you had a quarterback coach that would be a lot for one individual man let alone a quarterbacks-slash-coordinator. I think it’s one of those things where if you have that person, another set of eyes, somebody that can point things out just to help the staff overall in the pass game, run game and to help EJ (Manuel) even more.
Additionally, Downing has worked with two of the quarterbacks currently on the Bills roster. Downing has experience coaching Thad Lewis while they were both in Detroit, and he worked with EJ Manuel at the 2013 Senior Bowl. EJ Manuel was named the MVP of the 2013 Senior Bowl. This experience and familiarity with his quarterbacks should be beneficial for both the Bills and Downing next season.