Leslie Frazier is still waiting for the phone to ring with a team on the other end offering a head coaching gig. The 63-year-old defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills worked his way through the coaching ranks in the early stages of his career and eventually ascended to the head coaching position with the Minnesota Vikings. Initially, he was the interim option for the club in 2010 but officially was hired for the job beginning in 2011. Frazier held that role through the 2013 season before being fired. Since then, he’s yet to have another crack at being a head coach.
“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 told the AP Pro Football Podcast, via the Associated Press. “So it’s discouraging in some ways, but you just have to be able to control what you can control. I’m going to do the very best I can and help us to have another good defense in 2022 and help the Buffalo Bills win as many games as we can and put us in a position to compete for the world championship.”
Upon arrival to Buffalo in 2017 as the team’s DC, Frazier has led dominant defenses. Over the past four seasons, the Bills have enjoyed three top-3 finishes, including being the top-ranked total defense in 2021. While that success hasn’t resulted in another head coaching opportunity, Frazier has interviewed with several teams that have had vacancies, including the Dolphins, Bears, and Giants this offseason.
All three of those teams did go in a different direction with Miami (Mike McDaniel) and New York (Brian Daboll) hiring former offensive coordinators, while Chicago went with former Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
“Two of those cases, they said we would prefer to go with an offensive coach and they pointed to their young quarterback as the reason,” Frazier said. “And, I said this to both teams that I think I would do a good job of hiring a strong offensive coordinator, even though my background is defense.
“There have been a lot of defensive head coaches that have won Super Bowls in our league because at the end of the day, you need the right leadership. … It’s unfortunate. I think it’s very narrow-minded to only see the head coach as an offensive guy because you have a young quarterback. You need the right leader in that role because you’ve got to be able to handle multiple responsibilities, not just call offensive plays. I just I think that’s a misguided approach, but I’m not the guy doing the hiring.”
While Frazier — who has won two Super Bowls (one as a player and one as an assistant coach) in his NFL life — may have to wait a bit longer to possibly get that second chance, he does find himself in an advantageous position in Buffalo. The Bills are the current betting favorite to win the Super Bowl this season and have added pieces like pass rusher Von Miller and first-round corner Kaiir Elam to a defense that will also be welcoming back All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White, who missed the second half of last season with a torn ACL. That should set Buffalo up to again have a top-five defense under Frazier and could be the push to finally get him over the hump in interviews next offseason.