Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott will be moving into a new but familiar role next season.
The team’s head coach confirmed this week that he will be taking over defensive coordinator duties after the offseason departure of Leslie Frazier. In a May 24 appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, McDermott spoke about his return to the role he played with the Carolina Panthers and expectations for the season ahead.
Sean McDermott Excited for New Role
The Bills were left with a void on defense after Frazier’s unexpected departure from the team, and the franchise opted not to hire another defensive coordinator but instead tap the defensive-minded McDermott as his immediate replacement. Before becoming the Bills head coach in 2017, McDermott served as defensive coordinator for the Panthers from 2011 to 2016, a stretch that included a Super Bowl appearance.
McDermott said he was excited to step into the new role with the Bills and excited to have a more hands-on role as the team’s de facto defensive coordinator.
“I love it, honestly,” McDermott said. “It feels good to be back with the guys. As a head coach, we coach but we don’t coach. A lot of the time is spent on things outside of coaching. It feels really good to be back in the weeds.”
The Bills head coach also admitted that he missed getting to work one-on-one with players, which is often not in the job description for a head coach.
“To me, the head coach’s seat is a leadership seat and that’s all good, and I love that part of it. But what you miss the most is rolling up your sleeves, getting in with the players side-by-side and coaching and getting in that defensive room, in this case for me and really getting down to the details,” McDermott said. “So I missed that, and it feels good to be back doing that again.”
Leslie Frazier’s Next Step
Frazier never publicly explained his decision to leave the Bills and take a year away from football, leading to some speculation that he may have been quietly forced out of the position. Though the Bills had been one of the best defensive teams over the course of the past three seasons, Frazier was criticized for their struggles come playoff time.
The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia shared some insight on Frazier’s departure, saying Bills general manager Brandon Beane would have been straightforward if Frazier was forced out.
“I know there were quite a few wondering if Frazier’s decision to take a year off had more to it, but Beane is a straight shooter in interview settings,” Buscaglia wrote. “If he didn’t want to shed more light on something, he would say something like, ‘I don’t really want to get into all of that,’ rather than saying something completely untrue. When asked, point blank, if Frazier would have been the defensive coordinator in 2023 if Frazier wanted to, Beane succinctly said the job would have remained with Frazier.”
Frazier now appears to be planning for his next step in the NFL, which could include a return to a head coaching position. He was named as a participant in the league’s Coach Accelerator program, which is intended to increase exposure between owners, executives and diverse coaching talent in order to create opportunities for those taking part.