The Buffalo Bills failed to make it to the AFC championship game for the second year in a row, making it evident that changes were needed somewhere.
Those changes appear to be underway, as ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg reports that the Bills have parted ways with safeties coach Jim Salgado.
Bills safeties coach Jim Salgado was fired today, a source told ESPN.— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 26, 2023
Salgado has been on Sean McDermott's staff since 2017. From 2020-21, he was the team's nickels coach. He moved to safeties this year.
Salgado, who has spent time with the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants, has worked under Sean McDermott since the head coach took the helm in Buffalo in 2017. This was his first year as safeties coach, having previously been the nickels coach in 2020 and 2021, where he helped to develop Taron Johnson, and a defensive assistant for the three years prior to that.
While the Bills’ defense definitely struggled in their final game, a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it wasn’t an easy year for the secondary and their coaches. Every member of the Bills’ defense, with the exception of Johnson, missed at least one game this season — and the safeties were without team captain and the anchor of their unit, Micah Hyde, since Week 2.
In addition to Hyde’s season-ending injury, Jordan Poyer missed a significant number of games (four, plus the preseason) due to a laundry list of injuries, and played injured through the rest of them. Then, there was the on-field cardiac arrest of Damar Hamlin — who replaced Hyde for the year — that complicated the staffing of the safety unit even more.
At times during the season, the Bills were rotating through Jaquan Johnson, Cam Lewis, and the late-season addition of Dean Marlowe in an attempt to keep bodies on the field and make tackles.
While Salgado’s job wasn’t an easy one this year, the Bills must feel that they can find a better fit to work with their safeties in 2023 — but who those players will be is yet to be determined. We know that Hyde has been medically cleared to return, but Poyer is a pending free agent, and there is no news as to whether Hamlin will ever be in a position to play another down of football. In his press conference on Tuesday, general manager Brandon Beane did mention the possibility of transitioning cornerback Christian Benford over to safety during the offseason.