The four men searching for the next Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills had a very busy day on Friday. The Bills interviewed University of Oregon Coach Chip Kelly, former Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith and Syracuse University Coach Doug Marrone.
All 3 interviews took place in Arizona and were confirmed by the Bills at their web site. They were conducted by President and CEO Russ Brandon, General Manager Buddy Nix, Assistant G-M Doug Whaley and Senior Vice President for football administration Jim Overdorf.
Kelly interviewed with the Bills following 7 hours of meetings with the Cleveland Browns. There are various reports that Kelly and the Browns are close to a deal on a contract to make him their next head coach. Despite that, Kelly told his agent he still wanted to go through the interviews with the Bills and Philadelphia. Kelly was expected to meet with the Eagles on Saturday but that might not take place. There are reports claiming the Eagles are “going in another direction”.
Smith spent the last 9 seasons with the Bears and is the only man to be interviewed by the Bills thus far with a winning record as an NFL head coach. Smith was 81-63 in the regular season and led the Bears to a Super Bowl berth in 2006. Smith was said to have expressed interest in the Bills job in part because of the talent he feels the Bills have on the defensive side of the ball. According to BuffaloBills.com, the “genuine interest” between Smith and the Bills is mutual.
Marrone is being credited with turning around the program at Syracuse. He has led the Orange to consecutive bowl games and this season SU finished with an 8-5 record. Marrone does have NFL experience having coached under Sean Payton in New Orleans and Herman Edwards with the New York Jets.
The Bills are expected to interview Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy in Denver on Saturday. McCoy has been running the Broncos offense the last 4 seasons. Before that he spent 8 seasons on the Carolina Panthers coaching staff. McCoy is also expected to interview with Arizona and Chicago over the weekend.
The Bills have now formally interviewed 5 candidates. In addition to Kelly, Marrone and Smith, the Bills have spoken with former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cards Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton.
WGR 550 and WGR550.com will keep you updated on the Bills search for a new head coach.