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Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to take 2023 off from coaching

Despite Frazier planning to return in 2024, Buffalo will have to find a new DC for the moment.

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills will need to find a new defensive coordinator, at least for the 2023 season. As the team announced on Tuesday morning, Leslie Frazier has decided to take a year off from coaching — leaving the position vacant for the time being.

Frazier had played a big role in Buffalo’s turnaround over the last few years. Arriving in Buffalo alongside head coach Sean McDermott in 2017, the 63-year-old oversaw some impressive defensive efforts: the Bills ranked in the top-two in the NFL in points allowed in three of the last four seasons, including 2022 when they finished second.

With Frazier’s defense playing on this high a level, the Bills were able to make the postseason four years in a row and win three straight AFC East titles — taking over from the New England Patriots as the dominant team in the division.

However, the team’s regular season success over that span has not translated to playoff wins. Buffalo has gone 4-4 in the postseason since 2019, only once advancing past the divisional round. Frazier’s defenses are not entirely to blame for that, but there has been a noticeable drop-off from a points-per-game perspective in three of four tournaments.

Now, the Bills will find out whether or not a new leading coach on the defensive side of the ball will change the team’s fortunes. As of right now, no successor has been named; the expectation is that senior defensive assistant Al Holcomb will have a hand in coaching the unit during Frazier’s absence — one the team claimed will come to an end in 2024.

Buffalo losing its DC comes a month after the Patriots named a new offensive coordinator. Bill O’Brien was brought aboard to help get the unit and its third-year quarterback, Mac Jones, back on track.

Not having to face a Leslie Frazier-coached defense twice a year supposedly makes this an easier task.