BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sean McDermott will likely be calling plays on defense for the Bills this season after it was announced defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will be taking the year off at the end of February.

The Bills head coach said Monday it is “heading towards” him being the play caller, and that the team will not be looking for an outside hire to fill Frazier’s position.

“At this point, I’m going to be the play caller,” McDermott said during his availability at the NFL’s League Meetings in Arizona. “But, at the same time, I have tons of confidence in the guys we have around me that if I need to toss it to them from time to time I can do that.”

Should McDermott take the play-calling reins, he’ll do so with ample experience.

Prior to being hired in Buffalo, McDermott was a defensive coordinator for eight seasons, spending two with the Eagles and six with the Panthers. During his time in Carolina, he coached defensive units that ranked second and sixth in scoring defense in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Additionally, with McDermott as head coach, the Bills have boasted a top-two scoring defense in three of the last four seasons.

Despite Frazier being out of the picture for this season, McDermott was non-commital about making changes to the defense.

“We’ll see,” he said when asked about shifts in the team’s defensive philosophies. “I think everyone has just their own signature if you will. I learned years ago, even working for Ron Rivera — defensive coach, I was a defensive coordinator — unless you really do it yourself, it’s never going to be exactly the same … We’re all a little bit different, and that’s what comes through in the play and sometimes that’s good.”

Another topic of discussion surrounding the Bills defense has been the hole at middle linebacker left behind by Tremaine Edmunds, who signed a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

Buffalo currently has three fairly unproven players on the roster that could look to step into the role in 2022 draft picks Terrel Bernard and Baylon Spector, as well as Tyrel Dodson, who started three games at the position last season and recently re-signed with the Bills on a one-year contract.

While a solution could still be sought after either in free agency or the upcoming draft, McDermott confirmed Bernard, Spector and Dodson would all get a chance to earn the job.

“Our guys that are in the locker room deserve a shot, and we’ll see where it goes,” McDermott said. “There’s a lot that goes into [the position], it’s a lot for a young player. But there’s also a first time for everyone. I’m excited to see those guys … We’ll see how the whole thing unfolds, it’ll be an open competition.”

As the offseason continues, some other important dates include the Bills beginning their offseason workout program on April 17. The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off just under two weeks later on April 27, where Buffalo currently holds the No. 27 pick.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.