Let’s get a couple things out of the way after reading this headline: The Buffalo Bills are a good team, they are exciting, all Bills fans should be grateful for their progress, and they are going to the expanded AFC playoffs this year in some capacity.
All that being said, there is a HUGE elephant in the room holding this team back: the defense.
Head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier have developed a reputation as somewhat of a defensive coach dream team with many crying foul when Frazier didn’t even get a sniff of a head coaching opportunity last offseason. As of now it’s safe to assume things won’t be much different for Frazier after this year’s Super Bowl.
Despite their cachet, McDermott and Frazier are fielding a defense that has ranged from meh to abysmal in 2020 and trending in the wrong direction. The Tennessee Titans dropped 42 on the Bills Tuesday night. The areas of ineptitude abound about what’s wrong with the defense; the pass rush is non-existent, the edge is rarely set, coverage ranges from unreliable to absent, tackles are missed, and undisciplined penalties seem ubiquitous.
Perhaps that last charge is the one that lands most squarely on the shoulders of McDermott. For a mentally tough coach, his defense didn’t embody that characteristic against the Titans in the least. Worse yet, the undisciplined play on defense has been an absolute group effort. The brain trust behind the defensive side of the ball has a lot of soul-searching to do after that whooping from Ryan Tannehill and the Titans with an even bigger offensive juggernaut coming to town on Monday in the Kansas City Chiefs.
This offseason, general manager Brandon Beane has just as monumental a challenge to find the horses the Bills are obviously missing on the defense—just like he has done for the offense. In the meantime, Frazier and McDermott need to find ways to scheme difficulty for the opposing offenses because it certainly seems the Bills currently lack the talent to just win multiple man-to-man matchups.