Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane spoke to the media Tuesday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. After a disappointing end to the 2022 season, there were many questions to be asked about the organization, as an important offseason lies ahead. This offseason will be more difficult than prior years because they have limited cap space and they have the possibility of losing some key players on the defensive side of the ball.
About an hour before Beane was scheduled to speak, the Bills announced that longtime defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will be stepping away from coaching in 2023, but will return to coaching in 2024. Beane did confirm that if Frazier didn’t walk away this year, he would’ve been the team’s defensive coordinator once again.
Beane addressed that situation first in his press conference today.
“Last week was kind of a week where we gave everybody off in the office. During that time, Leslie reached out and just talked through some things, and ultimately, he didn’t want to retire,” Beane said. “He’s not there in his mind. He just wanted to take a step back. He’s going to take 2023 off. Talking to him, he has full plans to return to coaching in 2024.”
Beane then discussed whether or not the Bills will stay in contact with Frazier this season and what he means to this organization.
“I’m sure we can reach out and connect with him. He’s not planning to coach anywhere. He’s been here six years, and we have a great relationship with Leslie. And man, he’s done a great job for us and we appreciate who he is. Beyond that, I don’t know,” Beane continued. “That would be up to Sean if they wanted to connect with him during the offseason or season to ask questions.”
Beane also discussed Josh Allen and the injury he sustained during the season, and Allen has been able to reset after a tough ending to his season.
“Josh wasn’t perfect. He takes hits and obviously the elbow. He had a setback against the Jets, but he’s a warrior. He’s not going to use that as an excuse. I think as the year progressed after that injury, it was getting better and better,” Beane said. “He was able to remove the brace that he had to wear for the first few weeks. No one’s one hundred percent though. Josh is doing well. He’s played golf a few times, and he has kind of hit the reset. But he’ll be ready to roll come this offseason.”
Beane has been able to witness the ascension of Allen throughout his career, from draft day to perennial superstar. Beane wants to make sure that Allen continues to play his way, but to avoid putting himself in positions to get hurt.
“He’s got one style of play, and you know, my number one task for him is always to protect himself first,” Beane said.
The NFL Scouting Combine is a place where college kids take that next step to get to the NFL level. Beane talked at length about this draft class coming up, and the depth this class of players brings.
“I don’t see like these high, high-graded guys at the very top of the draft. There are a few but I would say there is depth in multiple positions,” Beane said. “I think tight end I mentioned earlier: There are some guys there. I think there are pass rushers again this year. I was telling guys on the radio earlier I think with the continued growth of seven on seven in youth leagues, high school, and all that, you’re seeing more DBs and more receivers every year coming out.
“A lot of hybrid players this year. Guys that can play nickel, can play safety, can play corner. We drafted one in Christian Benford last year that we felt like part of it was he could play corner or safety.”
If Benford is able to move to the safety position next season and do it well, the Bills will fill a hole if Jordan Poyer departs in free agency, but counting on Benford, who hasn’t played the position before, is a risk. Going after a safety in the draft or free agency is something that Beane said they are actively looking at.
According to Beane, Damar Hamlin is doing great, but they still are up in the air if he will be able to play football again. Beane continued to mention Hamlin is meeting with a couple of more specialists around the country to get a better idea of what is next. Wherever Hamlin ends up in life, Beane told the media that he will be supported, and as an organization, they are happy to see the progress he has made.