After another playoff failure, will changes be coming to Buffalo?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills
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Bills coach Sean McDermott reacted to another disappointing playoff loss the only way he could. He said that the team will keep knocking on the door.

At some point, however, it’s fair to wonder whether McDermott will continue to be the one who knocks.

Before the 2022 season began, we addressed the intense pressure the Bills were facing in 2022. The expectations were crippling. It wasn’t fair to the Bills, not with so many great teams in the AFC.

And now that the Bills have exited in the divisional round for the second straight year, losing only their second ever home playoff game, it’s fair to wonder what may be happening behind the scenes, as McDermott contemplates potential changes to the coaching staff — and as ownership potentially contemplates potential changes to key positions like head coach and General Manager.

That’s not to say changes should be made. The point is that only ownership has the power to make those decisions, and that it’s possible for ownership to conclude that, as quarterback Josh Allen enters the front end of his prime, the team’s current power structure has taken the team as far as it can.

At the same time that ownership ponders (if it is) the future of coach Sean McDermott, McDermott ponders (if he is) the future of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Ownership possibly will be placated by a half measure, similar to what the Chargers did after losing in the wild-card round.

But ownership also may decide that it needs a head coach who is an offensive expert. An offensive expert who can be joined at the hip with Josh Allen.

As it stands, the Bills have started to become an incubator for head coaches. A year after Brian Daboll went from being offensive coordinator to head coach of the Giants, his replacement (Ken Dorsey) had an interview with the Panthers. (Whether the rules should have allowed Dorsey to be distracted while preparing for the Bengals is a very different — but very real — issue.)

Dorsey could get the job in Carolina. Or he could be fired. Or everyone could be fired. Or everyone, including Dorsey, could get another year.

At this point, no one knows. And what anyone outside the organization thinks doesn’t matter.

Only ownership makes that call. And like owners of past teams that consistently got onto the porch but couldn’t kick in the front door, it’s possible that the owners of the Bills will decide that, in order to get over the top, changes need to be made.

57 responses to “After another playoff failure, will changes be coming to Buffalo?

  1. With the trend being offensive minded head coaches, I could see the Bills making a run at Sean Payton. Buffalo is a very attractive job.

  2. They don’t have a running game. Get some running backs, start running the ball and they’ll win.

  3. Long time Bills fan here. Fraizer has to go for sure he defenses have been bad last 3 years. Should have been fired after the 13 second Kansas City debacle. As for Dorsey bring in Frank Riech and let him learn under Frank. Go Bills

  4. Now I know the Bills went through a lot this season but here is some thoughts to ponder. Josh Allen lost his coordinator and to me looks like he is regressing. The coordinator he lost went the NYG and Jones had his best season yet, just saying. As for the defense that is two years in a row they did not get the job done, so probably will be a change there. It should be interesting to see what happens.

  5. Scott Farkus and Brandon Beane will be on that hotseat after back to back playoff fiascos.

  6. I still think the Bills have time. With everything that happened this season (especially the last few weeks) the expectations seemed to pile on even higher. Beane and McDermott have done the impossible in turning that organization around. They’re no longer Belichick’s annual doormat and are in the playoffs every year. That kind of stability is pretty rare. It would be about as foolish as those calling for Tomlin to leave after one down year (which wasn’t even a losing season).

  7. It was a great season. Great record, and even the losses were down to the last play. I don’t think they’ll overreact here.

    That said, I’m ready for anything. As an organization, I’m sure they also realize what they have in Allen – and don’t want to waste too many of his prime years (he’s 26, in case anyone was wondering).

    If Beane decided to throw a hail mary and make a play for Payton, it would be kind of fun. But I doubt they move on from McDermott. Might just be a change at one of the coordinator positions. Love the Reich idea that someone mentioned.

  8. touchback6 says:
    January 23, 2023 at 8:49 pm
    Scott Farkus and Brandon Beane will be on that hotseat after back to back playoff fiascos.

    Where does that put BB after missing the postseason twice and getting absolutely blown out the one time they squeaked in?

  9. This team is as soft as they come! No pass rush, cornerbacks playing 10 yards off the line! No running game, offensive line not that good! please!

  10. They need wholesale coaching changes. McDermott lost it all with that soft coverage and blowing the late lead to KC. He’s not it – but the Bills will wait too long.

  11. IMO,
    The issues go way beyond football. Something is up, and it’s been up for awhile.
    No way Buffalo plays like this for the last few months.

    Allen wasn’t his same old bubbly self at all this year. He almost came across as sad.
    Diggs seemed like he was the glue holding it all together.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dorsey fired. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frazier sent packing..
    I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see a nice man likeTerry Pegula, (who has been under maximum pressure of his own with major health issues of wife Kim) looking to fire them all.

  12. @touchback6: I don’t agree, but I appreciate a good Scott Farkus/Christmas story reference, regardless….

  13. The biggest joke of the weekend was the TV blowhards Nantz & Romo saying Frazier should get a HC job. He was weak as Viks coach & has been soft as Bills D coordinator.
    Guess he’s a good dude. That doesn’t mean he still should be coaching in the NFL.

  14. I like the Steeler way… find a guy you truly believe in and stick with him through the ups and downs. Teams are too trigger happy these days. People need to be reminded that Jimmy Johnson went 3-13 his first year with the Cowboys. Give a good coach good players to work with and good things will eventually happen.

  15. Or, they could just keep everyone and study and learn and get better next year.

    Everything seems so panicky these days. Constant turnover is lousy for teambuilding.

    Sign Saquon Barkley, send all your coaches away to come up with new plans to avoid this year’s downfalls, and next year will be better.

  16. The window is still open, despite the division rivals recognizing what their own deficiencies are. It’ll take time for those teams to acclimate to their changes. Buffalo simply needs to push all the chips in over the next two seasons and not worry about the cap. Yes, the downside looks like today’s Rams, but the upside is finally getting over that hump. With the talent in place and a QB in his prime, you’re getting to the point where you can’t play footsie with this. Go all in or pray for good fortune.

  17. McDermott. McCarthy. Staley. O’Connell. 4 coaches with rosters and QBs that will always have you in the playoffs but may never get you to the Super Bowl.

  18. It wasn’t fair to the Bills? Seriously? According to the media and their fans there weren’t any other teams in the AFC. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon after they beat the lowly Rams to start the season.

  19. Here’s the deal. The media hung this unnecessary hype around the bills neck, and now acts surprised by the lack of success. Stop preappointing teams to the Super Bowl in the off-season. Also, if we’re pointing out Dorsey being distracted, lest we forget the Bengals OC interviewed for the Colts job this week too. Distraction didn’t seem to impede that team though.

  20. I wouldn’t make to many changes, the Bills are close. I’d keeping stacking talent defensively n build an elite running game behind Josh Allen. Having a top 5-10 QB is great but in the playoffs it’s defenses n running games that wins games. That’s where Buffalo should focus their resources this off-season n stead of panicking n firing everybody.

  21. They are an average team Allen never rose to the occasion when it was needed. they had no running game

  22. Would the Bills take two firsts, two thirds and two good players for Josh Allen from the Giants?

    For both teams you have face some hard truths: the Giants are going to have to give Daniel Jones a massive contract to keep him. Is it worth it? For the Bills do you think Allen will ever get you past Mahomes or Burrow? This team would have lost to Miami twice if Tua was healthy, they lost once already when he wasn’t. And that’s assuming no one else in the AFC emerges the next 5 years, not even considering the NFC.

  23. No coach and QB tandem that has been together for 5 years and not won a Super Bowl have ever gone on to do it there after. McDermott and Allen just finished their 5th year together. Might be time to break it up or they will have to make some major history.

  24. The Bills are a top 3 organization. They win their share. Look at what the Saints did all those years when they had Drew Brees. They were often considered the team with the best chance to get to the super bowl, but they only did it once. We act like Sean Payton hung the moon. Remember Dan Fouts and Air Coryell? They were awesome. They often got close, but they never made it. Those Chargers and Saints teams were awesome, yet they often ended the season disappointed. They were top heavyweight contenders, and they didn’t change a thing. Look at Marv Levy and the Bills. They lost four super bowls. When you’re that good and getting that close, other teams are trying to copy what you’re doing. Lots of other teams are trying to copy the blueprint of the Bills. Buffalo is beating up on everyone else. Josh Allen is an elite QB. Just like Dan Fouts and Drew Brees, Josh Allen will always get his team to the playoffs. Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes are also elite. The AFC has 4 or five elite HOF type QB’s. Burrow, Mahomes, Allen, Lawrence, and Pickett. Maybe Burrow and Mahomes have a slight edge on Allen right now. I mean, just because one or two people are richer than Bill Gates, doesn’t mean Gates is a bust. Lots of people would love to be busted like that. And lots of teams would give away the house for Josh Allen. By the way, the Bills aren’t standing still. They’ve done very well in the draft and will likely continue doing that. They’ll also be attractive to good free agents who are chasing a ring. They’ll be back stronger than ever. They have the top people running their organization, and it starts with the owners.

  25. From preseason and regular season juggernaut to “everyone could be fired”. Life comes at you pretty fast.

  26. Teams have figured out the Bill’s offense,keep Allen in the pocket and cover his receivers .

  27. Great QB and some great pieces. But, they oddly seem to be built like a dome team. Not a team suited to play smashmouth football in the elements. Whether changing coaches would help I don’t know. To me it’s personnel. Get bigger up front and get some physical downhill RBs. The defense is similar. Small and fast. A lot like the Colts under Polian and Dungy, which was fine because they played in a dome.

    Plenty of talent, just more suited to play in a track meet than in the cold.

  28. Bills have serious holes that can’t be covered by Josh Allen year in, year out. O-line? RB? Lack of D-line depth exposed after a Von Miller was injured.

  29. It’s never the players fault in the NFL anymore. Fire all the coaches cause they are playing

  30. I mean, decades of losing and the Bills are recently challenging for the 1 seed many years in a row, dominating their division, have an MVP caliber QB, Super Bowl hype, all since McDermott and Allen and Diggs arrived, and you want to mess with that?

    Beane has built a great team. McDermott runs a clean game and gets a lot out of his guys. They have a tight locker room and amazing chemistry.

    They’re a stud RB and a healthy Von Miller away from being truly great. I wouldn’t touch much.

  31. Whatever you do Buffalo make sure Dorsey has enough laptops to destroy on his way out the door! By the way, put a cover on that new stadium, Bengals proved it’s no longer your home field advantage!

  32. The Bills defense has literally been the top one in the league statistically the last three years and now it’s ‘bad’? Some Bills fans don’t know how good they have it now, have they forgotten all those long, long years of losing?

  33. These guys brought in all this talent and taught them how to play together to where they are consistently a top team…and now you talk of getting rid of them? Who will you bring in? Urban Meyer? Kliff Kingsbury?

  34. The defense has flopped the last 4 years in the playoffs (2 losses to KC, one to the Bengals, and the Texans comeback game in 2019), .they post great stats in the regular season, but aren’t as good as those stats would have you think. I think McDermott is stubborn loyal to his guys though so I doubt a change will happen.

    Dorsey is learning on the job, he doesn’t seem to have the creativity of daboll but that may come in time. Daboll wasn’t always good either.

    McDermott seems safe, even though I don’t think he will be the one to get them over the top. The owners are probably thinking he’s the one who got them to the point where they are very good, and will keep him.

    If anyone gets the short straw, I would guess it’s Frazier. But I bet nothing changes and they roll with the same guys

  35. The Window is not closed but it is creeping shut slowly. Their last 3 playoffs are regressing. For a fan base that was doing a lot of talking all year … the trophy case is still bare.

  36. Which coach will keep a player from openly saying they ran out of gas and were too tired? Especially after given 2 bye weeks? Unless you bring in a coach that can lobby for even more byes, they should look into replacing soft players. There’s no such thing as “pressure” from expectations. The ball is the same. Opponents don’t weigh more or run faster. It’s an imaginary thing, used as an excuse after failure. The team was supposedly made for snow but were whipped in it. Then you have Allen, who regressed in accuracy, decision making, and ball control. 4 turnovers in 2 playoff games plus 2 fumbles recovered by the bills. Cousins gets the “just good enough” label. Time to slap it on Allen and the bills.

  37. That soft D works in the regular season versus weak opponents but it gets destroyed by good teams in the playoffs. Frazier and Dorsey just aren’t good enough. The D line got absolutely dominated by cinci backups. The o line got dominated too.

  38. The Bills are farther from competing for title than most thought.
    Their offensive line is unremarkable, their defensive one isn’t much better despite several number picks used on it, wide receiver group is mediocre after Diggs, and their running game is Josh Allen.
    And that’s not even getting into the coaching which seems to be unprepared in the big moments.
    Buffalo has exactly two elite players, Allen and Diggs, and then a collection of mediocre to good with the rest of the team.
    They’ve had a nice turnaround from their down decade or two, but the current dynamic looks like they’ve hit their ceiling. Which means either you change the front office or change the roster.
    I’m thinking it’s Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott that need to go. They’ve managed to get the Bills out of the basement, but it looks like they’ll need someone else to take them to the penthouse.

  39. Saying Dorsey was distracted is kind of a weak excuse considering Brian Callahan also had an interview for a head coaching position last week.

  40. OC and Dc need to go. Predictable, soft, and vanilla. Most of the talent is there. Need people to come in and utilize it.

  41. Daboll leaving was a bigger loss than most expected. No coincidence that Daniel Jones improved and Josh Allen regressed. Until they find an OC that can get the same result with Allen that Daboll did, they won’t be a serious contender.

  42. Need new OC and DC, need a WR, need a RB, need O and D linemen, need better in game decision making from HC, on and on….this is a lot to overcome. Wildcard team next year.

  43. This isn’t a knock on the Bills, but as an outsider who has no rooting interest for either the Bills nor Bengals, I didn’t understand all the all the pre-season/in-season predictions for the Bills being the AFC’s Super Bowl representative. Typically that sort of hype is reserved for teams that just missed out…or teams that improved (on paper) significantly in the off-season. I looked at the Bengals as a team that nearly won the Super Bowl AND went out and made significant off-season acquisitions. And here they are 1 game away from their 2nd consecutive Super Bowl. That’s not an easy thing to do. Heck, the Cowboys, who haven’t made it out of the divisional round since 1996, were bigger favorites!

  44. The AFC has 4 or five elite HOF type QB’s. Burrow, Mahomes, Allen, Lawrence, and Pickett


    Lol!!! Nice try putting Pickett in there!

  45. I was quick to demand McDermott being fired. But, winning SBs isn’t easy. How long did it take Andy Reid, bill cowher or tony dungy? Media acts like sean payton is the greatest HC of all time and yet he has the same number of SBs as Mike McCarthy—one.

    McDermott is a good HC and needs to makes adjustments to the team and players, but I don’t think dumping a quality HC is wise.

  46. There was something intangible about the Bills this year. Got Von Miller and somehow that was going to push them over the top. With Von, we blew a sure win in the 3rd game of the season. We also lost against the Vikings which was a won game until the fumble in the endzone. The Bills struggled against the Dolphins with a 3rd string quarterback in the playoffs. Besides Allen and Milano, we were not that good. Lots of talent, but horrible play calling on both sides of the ball. After almost blowing it against Detroit on Thanksgiving, the cards were on the table. No Super Bowl and no conference championship. Changing McDermott and Beane is not the answer. Our defensive line needs lots of work. Our offensive line needs some young blood. Go Bills… next year…

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