As Ken Dorsey stepped into the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus of the Browns, there was a vague sense of familiarity, but also an overarching feeling of newness.
He had been here once before during his NFL career, a part of the Browns roster from 2006-08. Yet, so much had changed as he returned as the new offensive coordinator for the Browns.
"Just walking in here, it's like the vibe is just so much different than when I was here as a player," Dorsey said during his introductory press conference. "And that's the fun part about it for me. It's just like when you walk into a building and you're excited to come into work every day, I mean that's something that's invaluable. And just a very welcoming thing for me."
On Monday, the Browns made the addition of Dorsey as the new offensive coordinator official.
"When we made this decision very early on, Ken was a guy that we identified that could help us, help me, be an integral part of this offense," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "And Ken and I have known each other a little while. We've kind of come up in this profession together if you will. Just watching Ken in college, in the pros, having success as a player, having success as a coach. He really fits who we are culturally. He's a family man. His daughters are very important to everything he's doing. He's been in, I think, how many volleyball games this weekend? Quite a few. But really, a smart person who fits us from a culture standpoint. Just has had a ton of success, really every stop along the way. And really pleased to add Ken to this group."
Dorsey steps into a similar role with the Browns after spending five seasons with the Bills. He served as their offensive coordinator for two seasons beginning in 2022. He worked with QB Josh Allen in his five seasons with the Bills, helping Allen to set single season franchise records in 2020. In his first season as offensive coordinator, the Bills finished second in the NFL in total offense, averaging 397.6 yards per game and total points per game, averaging 28.4.
One of the major roles that either head coaches or offensive coordinators around the league hold comes in play calling. It's a role Stefanski has held since he became head coach in 2020, and on Monday, he addressed the underlying question about play calling responsibilities moving forward.
"Play calling, which I know everybody wants to talk about, we'll get there," Stefanski said. "It's February 5th. What's most important, what I'm looking forward to the most, is putting this offense back together with Ken really leading the charge, and that's why he's here and really pleased to have him here."
For Dorsey, his focus isn't on play calling. Instead, he's focused on helping to rebuild the Browns offense and help them reach their full potential on the offensive side of the ball.
"If Kevin's calling, what can I do? I could do my job to as high of ability as humanly possible," Dorsey said. "I could get Deshaun (Watson) ready to play each and every week. I can get our room ready to play each and every week. We got a great room and I'm sure we'll add to that. And then I can help develop a game plan that's going to help us be multiple, attack a defense in different ways, be aggressive and be elite in what we do. And that's the most important thing to me, just doing that to make sure if I'm in that role, I'm going to do that at an extremely high level."
That potential begins with Watson. Dorsey has worked with top quarterbacks in the league – not only with Allen, but also with Cam Newton – and believes the experience of understanding their skill sets and how to utilize them in a specific offensive system will translate to working with Watson and building the Browns offense.
In Watson, Dorsey first notes his physical skill set, as well as how he can adjust protections, make checks at the line of scrimmage and handle the intricacies of the quarterback position. Dorsey said in conversations he's had with Stefanski and others on the coaching staff, he's heard that Watson wants to be coached and pushed. In that regard, Dorsey believes he can pick up where the Browns left off and continue establishing a base of fundamentals they can rely on throughout the season.
Dorsey said he's had a chance to speak with Watson and begin to get to know him. When the time comes, Dorsey said they can go back to watch the tape and evaluate the season, analyzing what they did on the field and what meets their standard.
As the Browns continue through the offseason, Dorsey and the coaching staff will use the time to evaluate the offense and build a system that they believe works best to attack opposing defenses. After free agency and the draft pan out, they can better develop a strategy that fits their personnel. That will continue to evolve as they get into off season programs and training camp as they develop an identity as an offense.
Those are elements that Dorsey looks forward to putting together their offense.
"I'm extremely excited to work with this offense, especially Deshaun and him being one of the top quarterbacks in this league," Dorsey said. "The opportunity to really go out there this season and help him prove that he really is that – a top quarterback in this league that can operate and help us win a bunch of football games. So, I'm super excited about that opportunity and really looking forward to this challenge, and not only with him, but this whole unit has clearly done a lot of great things throughout Kevin's time here and really evolved into a special group that can really go out and show that we could be a top offense in this league."