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Bills Hire Al Holcomb as Senior Defensive Assistant



The Buffalo Bills made an addition to their coaching staff Wednesday night, hiring Al Holcomb as a senior defensive assistant, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Holcomb, 52, brings with him 14 years of NFL coaching experience after spending 14 years at the collegiate level. He most recently served as the Carolina Panthers interim defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Steve Wilks in 2022. He now reunites with Sean McDermott, who was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator while Holcomb was their linebackers coach from 2013-17.

Following his first stint in Carolina, Holcomb became the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator in 2018 once Wilks became their head coach. After Wilks and his staff were fired at the end of the season, Holcomb followed Wilks to Cleveland where he became the Browns’ linebackers coach and run-game coordinator (Wilks was named defensive coordinator).

What This Hiring Means

The reason I’m mentioning Wilks’ name so much is not just because the two worked together in Carolina this past season; this ties into last week’s article when I proposed that the Bills could move on from DC Leslie Frazier and bring in Wilks to get a new voice but a familiar face. (Wilks has since been hired as San Francisco’s DC.)

While this hiring shows that Frazier will be back next season, could this be the next best thing? To me, this shows that the Buffalo Bills don’t want to disregard their regular season success, but also recognize that the job’s not done yet. They know that giving up 35.7 points/game and 467.7 yards/game over their last three playoff losses is definitely not going to cut it.

Bringing in someone like Holcomb can help improve the team this year, and possibly years down the road as well. Even if the Bills don’t fire Frazier, he is turning 64 in less than two months; could the Bills be grooming Al Holcomb to take over for Frazier once he retires?

It’s also interesting because Eric Washington was the senior defensive assistant last season in addition to being the DL coach; does the hiring of Holcomb bump Washington down?

And, if we really want to make it interesting, Holcomb is a highly-touted defensive coach, specifically with linebackers. (Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis combined for six All-Pros and eight Pro Bowls under his watch.) Could this also be a move to further entice free agent LB Tremaine Edmunds to re-sign with the Bills?

Ryan Wendell

Another transaction occurred Wednesday night on the Bills coaching front. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Bills assistant OL coach Ryan Wendell is leaving Buffalo to become the Rams’ OL coach. Wendell had been with the Bills since 2019.

Featured Image: Ralph Freso/AP