Following a disappointing 6-10 season and yet another year out of the playoffs , the Buffalo Bills decided to part ways with Chan Gailey Monday morning.
The inability to hold late leads ruined the team’s playoff chances and sealed Gailey’s fate in Buffalo.
Gailey was true Southern Gentleman and a pleasure to deal with, but the Bills had no choice to make and try once again to turn the franchise into a winner.
A team with the longest current playoff drought in the NFL (1999) the Bills could not afford to screw up their next hire. This is a franchise that not only needs a new head coach, but need a new starting quarterback as well.
Whoever takes the job has some good assets to work with (CJ Spiller, Stevie Johnson, Marcell Dareus etc.), but they will also need to find and or develop a franchise quarterback to finally get over the hump and back into the post-season.
If I was making the decision here would be the first five men that I would want to interview for the vacant position.
-Lovie Smith: A disciple of Tony Dungy and the 4-3 “Tampa 2″ defence, Smith was fired in Chicago after leading the Bears to a 10-6 record this year. During his nine-year tenure in Chicago, Smith had an 81-63 record and led the Bears to the playoffs three times including an appearance in Super Bowl 41.
-Bruce Arians: Arians might be the first coach that I would interview. Arians was the offensive co-ordinator of the Steelers where he helped develop Ben Roethlisberger. In his first year as the offensive co-ordinator with the Colts, Arians has helped mold Andrew Luck and led the team to a 9-3 record while subbing in for the ailing Chuck Pagano.
-Chip Kelly: The head coach of the Oregon Ducks is the mastermind behind one of the most explosive offences in recent NCAA history. Over the past three seasons, the Ducks have scored 610, 645 and 611 points respectively. In his four years at Oregon Kelly has a 45-7 record and has led the Ducks to four bowl games and one BCS title game.
-Brian Kelly: Whereas Chip Kelly has built his reputation on offense, Kelly has built his rep on iron-willed discipline. After a four-year stint at the University of Cincinnati where he led the Bearcats to a 34-6 record and four straight bowl games ,Kelly took over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In three years, he has a 28-10 record and has led them to a date in this year’s BCS Title game against Alabama.
-Bill Cowher: This is a long shot and I doubt the Bills would be willing to give Cowher the kind of money he would command. But if they ever could work out a financial deal, Cowher would be the perfect man to coach the Bills.
Dark horse candidates:
-Josh McDaniels, Patriots OC: A bust in Denver, McDaniels has rebuilt his resume as the offensive co-ordinator of the New England Patriots. Under his tutelage, the Patriots have scored 557 points in 2012 and finished seventh in running the football, up from 20th the year before.
-Jay Gruden, Bengals OC: Jon Gruden isn’t coming to Buffalo but his brother Jay might be interested. Jay has done wonders with Andy Dalton and the Bengals offence the last two years and is a big reason why they’ve made the playoffs two year in a row.
-Mike Zimmer, Bengals DC: Zimmer has done wonders with a young Bengals defence. He has earned respect around the NFL and many believe he is deserving of a head coach. He would need to hire someone to run the offence but he’s tough-minded and would fit what Buffalo already has on defence.
Time is of the essence for the Bills. They need to identify their top candidates, start the interview process and make a decision quickly or risk losing their guy to another team.