If you haven’t yet caught the interview that Zach Gelb conducted with former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier ahead of the Thursday Night Football Week 11 matchup, it’s worth your time. Frazier was asked to reflect on now-former offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey losing his job in-season, whether he believes head coach Sean McDermott can course-correct, and how he would defend quarterback Josh Allen.
After several minutes discussing some of the bigger stories in the NFL right now, Frazier was first asked to give his thoughts on the Bills’ moving on from offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, and what it means for the rest of their season.
“I was really hurting for Kenny. I mean, he’s a good friend of mine obviously, and you know we worked together for years and uh, you know it hurt me, Zach, because I hate to see coaches get fired especially during the season. I mean, that’s a hard thing. I actually spoke to Ken this morning and just tried to encourage him and he was in good spirits man. He really lifted my spirits just in talking with him, he — you know, he’s not down and dejected like I thought he would be. He felt like: ‘You know, I did everything I could, Leslie, to put the guys in position and we just came up short.’” So he’ll land on his feet. It’s not a situation anybody would want to be put in. But he’ll learn from this experience and I think he’ll be a better coordinator down the line.”
Asked what he believes needs to change for the Bills to get back on track as a team:
“Yeah, I mean there’s a lot going on right now — they’re in foreign territory after changing coordinators and putting Joe Brady in that position now. It’s almost like starting over again in some ways, but I’m sure Sean was looking at ways to energize the entire team and interject some confidence. But I’m not sure what the answer is Zach. I mean they’ve got a tough road ahead of them. I know for a fact we were able to put together some strings in years’ past where we could win five in a row, six in a row, seven in a row. They’ve got the talent, they’re capable of doing it. I picked ‘em to go to the Super Bowl on the NFL Network. I thought they had the pieces to do it. It’s just a matter of how these guys respond to this change. Is it one where it could divide the locker room, or is it the one where guys are going to rally and come together and play above the circumstances. And nobody knows that.”
Gelb then gave Leslie Frazier a chance to explain why he was no longer with the Bills, to which Frazier responded:
“It just got to a point for me Zach where I just felt like this was something I needed to do at this stage of my career. You know, that 2022 season was a challenging year with some of the things that happened with our team — having to go to cities and stay in cities and not get back and forth. And you know, we were getting ready to go back to the combine and I was at home and just thinking about it, man, about did I want to go back for another year. And I just made the decision I was going to take the year off and just see what happens from there. And I don’t regret the decision. I do miss the guys. Tre’Davious White was here in Los Angeles where I am, doing his rehab — he had surgery here. And I went down and spent some time with him, and we were just reminiscing — you know he’s coming off that Achilles surgery. And we were just reminiscing and talking about our time together. Man, some of the things he said kind of inspired me and made me think about getting back into it. And when he talked about, you know, what I meant to him and his teammates... moments like that make me think about getting back. But we’ll see. we’ll see, we’ll see what happens.”
Next, Gelb asked Frazier to reflect on Sean McDermott’s job being called into question and if he believes McDermott can fix things in Buffalo.
“Yeah, absolutely. You know, he’s got a strong staff with Eric Washington his assistant head coach there, and there are some other guys — Kelly Skipper, Joe Brady — I mean there are some other guys on the staff that will support Sean and help him get the ship turned in the right direction . Even though they’re on the outside looking in right now, you look at all the teams with four and five losses — they’re still right on the verge of making something happen. So, you know, he’s proven in the past that he can lead a team to success, and I think he can again.”
Gelb closed with Frazier by discussing quarterback Josh Allen. He asked Frazier to consider what he might do as a defensive coordinator trying to defend against Allen — given his familiarity with the Bills QB.
“You know in the past, people were always concerned with his mobility, and now he’s running a whole lot less and becoming more of a pocket passer — now that may change under Joe Brady, they may let him get back to some of the things he’s really done to put a lot of pressure on defenses. But if you don’t have to worry about him running and making those splash plays with his legs, then you’re just gonna play coverage like teams are doing. And they’ve gotten some big plays just playing coverage without bringing pressure, sitting back and playing zone — saying he’s not gonna run. And it’s worked out well for teams, so you just copy — and that’s what everybody’s doing — they’re just copying what they saw the Jets do in the first game of the season, what New England did, what Cincinnati did, and then what we saw last week with Cincinnati (likely meant to state Broncos) — just sit back and play zone. He’s not running, so we don’t have to worry about it, and they’re having success.”