The Bills elected to retain Joe Brady as their full-time offensive coordinator, and the team has taken a similar approach on defense. Linebackers coach Bobby Babich has been promoted to DC in Buffalo, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network report. The move is now official.
Babich has a longstanding relationship with head coach Sean McDermott, having been a member of Buffalo’s staff since 2017. Over that span, he has worked alongside the team’s safeties and linebackers while spending time with both McDermott and ex-DC Leslie Frazier. After the latter stepped away, McDermott took on play-calling duties for the 2023 season.
The younger Babich drew extensive interest for DC posts, including one in the AFC East. The Giants requested an interview with Babich earlier this month. That would have been a fairly natural fit, considering two ex-Bills bastions — Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll — are running the Giants now. The Packers then sent out an interview request, preceding Dolphins interest about their again-vacant job. Rather than see Babich depart for one of those positions, the Bills will elevate the 40-year-old assistant.
It will be interesting to see if McDermott keeps the play-calling reins or entrusts Babich, who has coached multiple positions during the Bills’ four-season run as AFC East champions. The son of former NFL DC Bob Babich, Bobby coached the Bills’ safeties from 2018-21 and has been the team’s linebackers coach for the past two years. Standout performances from midlevel investments have ensued during that time, and after D-line coach Eric Washington left to become the Bears’ DC, Babich will take over the post Frazier held for years.
During Babich’s time as safeties coach, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer grew from part-time starters for their previous teams — the Packers and Browns, respectively — into impact players as Bills. The 2017 free agency pickups transformed from bargain signings to one of the best safety tandems of the 21st century, each signing multiple contracts with the Bills and becoming Pro Bowlers. During Babich’s first season in charge of Buffalo’s linebackers, former fifth-round pick Matt Milano earned first-team All-Pro recognition. Both Terrel Bernard and Tyrel Dodson played well this season following Milano’s injury.
Bob Babich served as defensive coordinator for the Bears, Lions and Jaguars from 2007-15. His stop in Buffalo — as linebackers coach — in 2017 led to both Babiches coaching under McDermott. Bobby has a pre-Buffalo history with McDermott, breaking into the league during the latter’s time as Panthers DC during the 2010s. Bobby Babich coached Poyer in Cleveland as well. After a lengthy grooming period, the Bills will gauge Babich’s chops running a defense.
Sam Robinson contributed to this post.