Bills’ Wings Of The Week- The Awesome Leslie Frazier

September 19, 2022
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Leslie Frazier has been the Bills’ defensive coordinator since 2017 joining forces with Sean McDermott. The two worked together a few years for the Eagles as defensive assistants, well here we are over 20 years later and the two have turned into a dynamic duo that the league has learned not to mess with.

Frazier’s Early Years

After being the defensive backs coach for Illinois in 1998 and 1999 Leslie Frazier was hired to be the Eagles defensive backs coach under Andy Reid. In the next four seasons you could see their defense progressing under Frazier’s watch. After seeing the progression he and the team had made, in 2004 the Bengals hired him to become their defensive coordinator.

In his first season the Bengals defense went from the 28th defense from the year before to the third overall defense. The team amassed 36 turnovers which was also third in the league that season along with 20 interceptions which was the most by a team since 1996. Ultimately his time was short lived with the Bengals as he was relieved of his duties in 2005 but was later hired again that season by Hall Of Fame Coach Tony Dungy to be the defensive assistant, special assistant to the head coach and a defensive backs coach.

In his first season for the Colts, he was brought in mainly to mentor their young defensive backs to be professionals and to speed up the process of progression from the players. From 2005 to 2006 the Colts passing defense went from 15th in the league all the way up to second. Solidifying what Dungy already knew, Leslie Frazier has a special mind.In the end Dungy and Fraziers plan worked because in 2007 this dynamic duo won the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning which turned out to be a defensive battle with Frazier’s young defensive backs holding their own.

I’m Defensive About My Wings

In 2010 Leslie was the defensive coordinator for the Vikings after being cut by the Colts a few years prior. In the middle of November that season, the Vikings fired then head coach Brad Childress and Frazier was named the interim head coach while the team looked to fill the vacancy after the end of the season. After Frazier finished the season with an even three wins and three loss record he signed a deal to become the Vikings head coach finally getting the break he deserved.

In his first season as the Head Coach, the Vikings had three wings along with 13 losses, their worst record since 1984. With the confidence of the team’s owner behind him Frazier turned the team around and led them to a ten 10 win and six loss record. That turnaround was the biggest in the teams history which lead to Frazier coming in fourth in that year’s Coach Of The Year award race.

At the end of Frazier’s four year contracted he was informed he would not be retained to be the teams head coach and found himself as a defensive coordinator again but this time for the Tampa Bay Bucs. After a few sub par seasons for the team as a whole he was again informed the team would not be picking up the team option to retain him, again becoming a free agent.

Nothing Like Buffalo (Bills) Wings

After being out of coaching for a year, on January 12th, 2017, he was reunited with friend and old coworker Sean McDermott being named to our Buffalo Bills as the defensive coordinator. In his first season he and the rest of the coaching staff shocked the world as they took a bottom tier roster in the NFL to the playoffs, ending the 20 year and longest playoff drought in North American sports.

I think that season was all we, the mafia, needed to see to know that this coaching staff was the real deal and going to do big things. After this season the rebuild began in full force and the team went on to win only six games as Buffalo was getting ready for a franchise altering draft taking Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds both in the first round. Giving the team what is now both their captains on the players respected side of the ball.

Since 2019 the defense as a whole has been pieced together via free agency and the draft with players like Von Miller, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde choosing to play in his defensive scheme. Since coming to Buffalo Frazier has been able to unlock something in the safety duo that no one else in the league has. Poyer and Hyde have both turned into All-Pro players with many other players on his Bills’ defense earning Pro-Bowl honors.

What Frazier has been able to do with a bunch of “misfits” from around the league and turn them into a group that led the NFL last season in almost every single defensive category and on the way to what we be probably his greatest blunder as a coach since joining the NFL.

Ew, Who Wants Wings in 13 Seconds?

Going back to last season, the only thing that was consistent all year no matter was the defense. Being ranked first overall and first in many of the other categories we thought that was going to be the anchor going into the Divisional Round against the Chiefs. Knowing Mahomes was going to put up points no matter the defense he’s against the hope was the Bills’ offense would just need to keep up and match them score for score, which they did.

Scoring on almost every possession in the second half of the game, the Mafia was thinking that this must be it. Just hold the Chiefs once and let Josh be Josh. It all seemed to fall into place until there were 13 seconds on the clock. To this day we still are unsure why Frazier rushed four defensive lineman. In most instances the team would rush three players with eight dropping back into coverage. Apparently the Bills needed that one extra guy back because with Mahomes being Mahomes he found Kelce twice in 13 seconds to send the game to overtime and the rest is known, sad history.

If that can be the turning point which drives this team to achieve the ultimate goal this season then I guess the Mafia can look back on last season as a learning point and will help us fans appreciate a championship even more. Frazier has improved every team he’s been a part of no matter what his position was. He’s known as a players coach and allows them to be themselves in his defense an helps do what Coach McDermott preaches for players to be which is, being the best version of themselves.

Leslie has a proven track record of being a positive on a franchise and I am dreading the day other teams realize how much of a gem he is and finally make him a Head Coach again. Until that day, the Bills have one heck of a coordinator and assistant head coach who we should completely trust to be a pillar to what could be a championship team this season and many seasons to come.

So from the Mafia to you Coach Frazier, thank you. Thank you for being a constant on this team and bringing the most out of these players and helping give hope to this fan base again. We wish you the best of luck this week and the rest of the season. Cheers and enjoy your wings.

P.S. Please do everything possible to win against Tennessee so I don’t lose another bet to my friend who’s a Titans fan and have to jump in another cold lake for a third straight year.


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