Since coming over to the Buffalo Bills back in 2017, head coach Sean McDermott has led one of the most-successful runs in franchise history.
Buffalo has posted a 37-12 regular-season record since the start of the 2020 campaign, its best three-year mark since the days of Marv Levy back in the 1990s.
Despite this regular-season success, playoff failures have been the name of the game for Buffalo under McDermott. That was magnified following Sunday’s brutal 27-10 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
McDermott did not have his Bills ready to play, leading to a disastrous performance on both sides of the ball and some frustration on the part of star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. McDermott’s Bills are now 4-5 in the postseason with him leading the ship.
In talking to reporters in his season-ending press conference on Monday, McDermott actually left the door open for some staff changes. In fact, he refused to commit to offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
“I’m not going to get into staff right now. Obviously, not even 24 hours past yesterday’s game,” Sean McDermott to reporters.
In particular, McDermott talked about the job Dorsey did in his first season as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator following the departure of Brian Daboll to the New York Giants.
“There’s a first year for everyone, and I thought Dorsey really did some good things, and there’s some things that he can learn from as well. I know this, when you’re committed to a cause and you work hard at things, and you put the team first, you learn from experiences. So, like all of us, we have to learn from experience,” McDermott said.
Under Dorsey this past regular season, Buffalo finished second in total yards and second in scoring. It also ranked No. 2 in points allowed while finishing in the top-six in total defense. These two coordinators seemed to do pretty darn well in their roles.
Then, the playoffs happened. After an ugly win over third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson and the Miami Dolphins in the wild card round, Buffalo was dominated at home by Cincinnati. The Bengals opened up an early 14-0 lead while putting up 151 total yards on their first two drives. That same span saw Buffalo’s offense tally 11 yards on six plays, pretty much setting the tone for the remainder of the game.
Sean McDermott could be on the hot seat
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio penned an interesting article recently suggesting that owner Terry Pegula could look to make a coaching change this offseason.
It seems a bit ridiculous on the surface given Buffalo’s lack of success prior to McDermott arriving in Western New York back in 2017. Remember, the Bills didn’t earn a single playoff appearance from 2000-2016 before McDermott took over.
- Sean McDermott coaching record: 62-35, .639 winning percentage
Despite this success, the pressure has been on McDermott and Co. in recent years. Buffalo’s ownership group has committed a ton of money to this roster, including signing quarterback Josh Allen to a massive six-year, $258 million contract back in 2021. Stefon Diggs ($96 million) and Von Miller ($120 million) are also playing under huge deals.
Perhaps, Pegula looks at someone like Sean Payton as a better fit for the Bills. The Super Bowl-winning head coach is making his rounds in interviews after sitting out last season and is considered one of the most-respected offensive minds in the game.
Of course, this is all speculation on our part. What we do know is that Sean McDermott had to navigate through a whole lot during the 2022 season. Despite a premature playoff exit, common sense seems to suggest he’s earned another season.
We’ll see if Pegula and Co. agree.