The Bills’ defense, which annually ranks among the NFL’s best, will have new leadership in 2023.
Buffalo on Tuesday announced defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will not coach in the upcoming season. He plans to return in 2024, per the team.
Losing Frazier, who arrived in Buffalo alongside head coach Sean McDermott in 2017, is a significant blow to the three-time defending AFC East champions. His Bills defense ranked second in the NFL in points allowed and fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA this past season. Buffalo ranked first in both categories the previous season. The Bills also were one of the league’s top defensive teams in 2019, ranking second in scoring defense and seventh in DVOA.
The New England Patriots — the team the Bills overtook for AFC East supremacy in recent years — have struggled to score against Buffalo in the McDermott/Frazier era. They didn’t score more than 24 points in any of the teams’ last 10 meetings and averaged just 17.9 points per game during that span.
New England went winless in its last four matchups with Buffalo and 1-6 in its last seven.
It’s unclear how the Bills will structure their defensive staff during Frazier’s year off. They announced the hiring of Al Holcomb, a former DC in Arizona and Carolina, as a senior defensive assistant.
Buffalo also could lose some significant defensive pieces in free agency. Starting safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds both are set to hit the market when the NFL league year opens March 15.