Earlier today the Buffalo Bills announced that defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier plans to take next season off from coaching. It’s weird timing as we’re already at the end of February, the NFL Draft combine is starting, and most of the top coordinators have signed elsewhere. However, there are still some great options for the Buffalo Bills, if they decide to bring someone else in.
Bills Defensive Coordinator: Top Candidate
Al Holcomb – Bills Senior Defensive Assistant
Al Holcomb is the early media frontrunner for the position. He brings history with McDermott as he was the linebackers coach in Carolina when they went to Super Bowl 50.
Buffalo recently hired Holcomb as their senior defensive assistant to bring a different point of view, and his connection with McDermott could help him become the person to fill this role. Holcomb has championship experience and fits McDermott’s system, making him the top option for many.
Other Options for Bills Defensive Coordinator
Jim Leonhard – Former NFL Player and Coach at Wisconsin
Jim Leonhard is a former Bill who ended up on the roster after going undrafted. After his playing career, he joined the staff at the University of Wisconsin. He worked his way to defensive coordinator of Wisconsin a year later, and was the interim head coach this past season.
He went 5-3 as a head coach, but announced he was leaving Wisconsin at the end of the season. It’s possible he could return to coaching for the right opportunity. Buffalo could try to bring him ‘home’.
Eric Henderson – Rams Defensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator
With Sean McVay already having a big coaching tree, there’s always speculation for coaches in his organization to leave for a better position. Eric Henderson is no different. He’s had the chance to call plays for the Rams in the preseason, and has had high praise from McVay.
Henderson was described as “aggressive” by the Rams head coach, and that’s a trait many teams want in their coordinator. His experience working with a talented group of players and coaches could draw some attention from the Bills.
Aden Durde – Former Player and Cowboys Defensive Line Coach
Another former player, Aden Durde would come from one of the top defenses in the NFL. He helped lead a defensive line in Dallas that was tied for 3rd in sacks and tied for 2nd in adjusted sack rate. The Bills could look to bring him in to help the pass rush that dropped from 4th to 29th without Von Miller.
Durde could be exactly what they need to get the young pass rushers going and take pressure off the secondary and linebackers.
I know what you’re thinking, “what do you mean ‘no one’?”. Well, there’s a chance that the Bills decide to keep their staff exactly as it is. Going into the 2023-24 season without a defensive coordinator isn’t the worst option for Buffalo.
With Sean McDermott being a defensive-minded head coach, he could take full control of the defense. If they believe Frazier will return as their coordinator at the end of the season, they could opt to go in this direction.