After a six-season absence, Aaron Kromer, a relic of the last era of dominant Buffalo Bills rushing football, has returned to Western New York. Kromer brings something the rest of the offensive coaching staff lacks: experience and success in establishing a strong running game and building effective pass-protection. The hire was an unexpected one, but worth celebrating. Kromer has a history of rejuvenating lines across the NFL.
He’s had a prolific career in coaching, starting back in 1990 as an assistant for the University of Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks. Aaron Kromer progressed to the offensive line in 1998, and it was there he found his niche. He moved to the NFL and experienced a variety of roles before settling into what he knew best. He learned from the best too, studying line play under the great Bill Muir for three seasons. After seven years spent between the Raiders and Buccaneers, he went to New Orleans. His rise to prominence was put on full display.
New Orleans, New Aaron
Initially hired as the running backs coach in 2008, he took over the offensive line quickly and excelled. In his first year as OL coach in 2009, the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl, and he earned plenty of credit. Leading that unit, he earned the ‘Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award’ to honor the league’s best OL. Under his supervision, five different players earned a total of nine Pro Bowl nods. His team allowed only 96 sacks during his tenure; the least in the NFL during that span.
His prowess earned him respect and a promotion as he became the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2013. There, he had brief success before winding up in Buffalo under Rex Ryan. He returned to what he knew best: offensive line play.
First Time In New York
He proved to be anything but a one-hit-wonder, as the Buffalo Bills lead the NFL in rushing in both 2015 (152.0 ypg) and 2016 (164.4 ypg) with Kromer’s line leading LeSean McCoy. McCoy found himself in the MVP conversation during his tenure, despite playing in the twilight of his career. When Ryan was ousted following another failed season, Aaron Kromer decided to look elsewhere for success.
A ‘West Coast’ Offense
Hungry for more than just a paycheck, he made a lateral move to the Los Angeles Rams, joining the up-and-coming Sean McVay’s initial staff. McVay’s tactics were aggressive, and his reliance on his coordinators allowed them to shine. Todd Gurley emerged as one of the league’s top rushers under Kromer’s system. Aaron Kromer was promoted from offensive line coach to run game coordinator. Gurley amassed 3,924 total scrimmage yards in his first two seasons under him. With his offense, they powered their way to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019.
Returning To Buffalo
Aaron Kromer took the 2021 NFL season away from the league, and will now return to Buffalo to help establish the run and enforce pass protection for a prolific offense. With a history of success in both these fields, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. The Buffalo Bills offensive line is, as evidenced by the late-season streak, home to solid talent. Rookie right tackle Spencer Brown impressed last season, and with Dion Dawkins locking down the left side, Kromer’s focus should sit at the interior of the line. Mitch Morse is a quality starter, and Ryan Bates excelled as he earned his opportunities towards the end of the season. With a full offseason ahead of him, and an overhauled offensive staff, Kromer’s unit will be a focus moving forward.