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INDIANAPOLIS — The Buffalo Bills brain drain continues as the team announced Tuesday morning defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will take the 2023 season off and return in 2024.
This is part of a pattern for the Bills who last year lost offensive coordinator Brian Daboll when he became the Giants head coach and assistant GM Joe Schoen when he became the Giants GM. There were other coaches who also left in that string of departures to the Giants as well.
The Frazier move is stunning because of the timing. It comes well after the Bills season ended Jan. 22 in a divisional playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The departure, albeit temporary, also comes well after the coach hiring cycle has wound down.
The Bills announced the move but did not say why Frazier stepped away.
There had been rumors the 63-year-old Frazier had personal matters he wanted to attend to and he just wants a break. It’s unclear what those are and if those rose to the level of requiring this sabbatical.
So what do the Bills do now?
The Bills have hired Al Holcomb as senior defensive assistant. He was last with the Panthers, serving as the interim defensive coordinator under Steve Wilks last season. Holcomb previously coached linebackers under Bills head coach Sean McDermott with Carolina from 2013-2016 when McDermott was the team’s defensive coordinator.
So Holcomb is a prime candidate to run the game planning of the defense while McDermott takes on a bigger role in running the defense, perhaps even call the defensive plays.
General manager Brandon Beane on Tuesday suggested McDermott will indeed have a much bigger role in the defense.
“The good thing for us is you know Sean’s background in being a defensive coordinator,” Beane said. “Right now he’ll just kind of lead that…”
McDermott had moments during the 2022 season in which he took over the defensive play calls in games, a source told OutKick, although McDermott has denied that.
“If Sean decided to take over the play-calling, I’ve seen him do it for a long time,” Beane said. “Great success, he’s gone against great quarterbacks in his day and offensive gurus that you have to beat. That would be great if he feels is best for us, I’m going to support that.”
The Bills also hired Adam Henry as the club’s receivers coach. He was previously the University of Indiana’s co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach.
Bills general manger Brandon Beane will speak with reporters at 10:15 Tuesday and Frazier’s temporary departure suddenly becomes a major topic.