Why is the Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier taking a break from the NFL for the 2023-24 season?
As one of the more respected names in the game, it may be surprising to see the Bills coach stepping away for a time. Yet, that’s part of why he’s doing just that.
A period of self-reflection is never a bad thing, and it seems that’s exactly why the highly regarded defensive coordinator is taking some time away from football. The question that remains, is whether his time away will allow him to plan a course of action for when he returns, something he made clear that he will do.
Bills’ Leslie Frazier set to take a year off from the NFL
Amidst the chatter about free agency and franchise tags, one interesting story that has come to the fore this week, is that of Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier. According to reports, Frazier will be taking a hiatus during the upcoming 2023-24 NFL season. Incidentally, Frazier also made it clear that he will be back for the following season in 2024.
If you don’t know, Frazier joined the Bills as defensive coordinator in 2017, though he would later simultaneously take on the role of Sean McDermott’s assistant head coach in 2020, a function which he still performs. In terms of performance, it would be safe to say that with Frazier on board, the Bills have consistently fielded one of the best defenses in the league. In 2022, Buffalo had the No. 6 defense in the league, allowing an average of 319.1 yards of total offense per game. In addition to that, Buffalo was also the No. 5 run defense (104.6 rushing yards per game), as well as the No. 2 scoring defense in the league, having allowed just 17.9 points allowed per game. This of course, should come as no surprise when considering that the 63-year-old has a wealth of experience in defense, having served as DC for the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Why is Leslie Frazier taking a break from the NFL?
As is the case with many things, the best quality can often be the worst. Frazier is without doubt, one of the best defensive minds in the NFL today, but unfortunately, that’s been his Achilles heel when he’s been given the opportunity to take on the role of head coach, something many believe he should be. Perhaps a perfect example of this, is when he was promoted from defensive coordinator of the Vikings to interim head coach after Brad Childress was fired back in 2010. Even though he was later given the job on a full-time basis, Frazier could only muster an 18-29 record across three seasons, which ultimately saw him dismissed as well. The general consensus was not that he wasn’t good, he just wasn’t offensive minded enough.
To further punctuate that point, Frazier himself said just last offseason that he is in fact still hopeful of receiving another head coaching opportunity, but he does acknowledge that his affinity for defense is something that he’s got to see past. “I’d be lying if I told you that I felt like it would take this long to have that opportunity come along, especially after some of the success and particularly the most recent success we’ve had in Buffalo,” Frazier said at the time. “So it’s discouraging in some ways, but you just have to be able to control what you can control.”