The search for the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills continues, and as the search enters its second full week, the interview process is expected to pick up steam. With Buffalo only having conducted two interviews to this point - one with Perry Fewell and one with Leslie Frazier - Buffalo needs to pick up the pace in the spirit of due diligence.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported that the Bills would try to conduct interviews with four or five more candidates this week. Here's how it works: assistants working for the 24 teams that are not currently still playing football can be interviewed at any point. Names such as Sean McDermott, Mike Zimmer and Mike Nolan - all of whom have been mentioned by different reporters, by the way - fall into this category.
Also, any assistant working for teams that ended playoff bye weeks today - Indianapolis, San Diego, New Orleans and Minnesota - cannot interview for openings again until their team has been eliminated from the playoffs. That means that the Bills missed their window to interview Ron Rivera, though not for lack of effort, as Rivera reportedly turned down interviews in both Buffalo and Seattle. It also means that Frazier cannot hold a second interview with GM Buddy Nix until Minnesota is done; Frazier is the obvious leader for the job at this point.
Four teams won playoff games this weekend, and all four teams have one assistant coach that has directly or indirectly been linked to the Bills' job opening. Those men can be interviewed this week - and then not again until their teams are eliminated from the playoffs. This is the area which Buffalo is expected to work quickly this week, and at least three of the four names after the jump are considered serious contenders for the job.
The hottest and most oft-mentioned name at the moment is Brian Schottenheimer. The Jets' offensive coordinator is the son of Marty Schottenheimer, whose close relationship with Nix is frequently brought up. That relationship is expected to give Brian Schottenheimer an "in" for the job, should he be interested in it. Jets head coach Rex Ryan seems resigned to the fact that Schottenheimer will be coaching elsewhere in 2010, adding fuel to the fire of speculation. Schottenheimer and the Jets won on Saturday but don't play until the late game next Sunday, giving the Bills and Schottenheimer an extra day to try to get an interview together. Schottenheimer has gone on record as saying that he's happy in New York, but would probably listen to any offers that came his way.
Arizona assistant head coach and offensive line coach Russ Grimm has been linked to the job as well through multiple outlets. Grimm, who played on a legendary Washington line and cut his teeth as a coach under Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh, reportedly rebuffed Buffalo's initial attempts to talk with him, according to John Murphy. Buffalo is expected to formally request permission to interview Grimm this week, which, of course, either the Cardinals or Grimm can decline.
One name starting to be bandied about is Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, once one of the hottest coordinators in the sport, and whose star is beginning to rise after four straight weeks of dominant football in Big D. Garrett's name has only been mentioned in passing at this point, and there have been no indications that Garrett ranks anywhere on Buffalo's mythical coaching list. Garrett is the league's highest-paid assistant coach, making $3 million annually working for Jerry Jones.
Finally, Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has loosely been linked to the job, but again, unlike Schottenheimer and Grimm, there have been no reports indicating that the Bills are serious about interviewing him. Cameron is the only coach on this short list with head coaching experience, as he got fired after one 1-15 season in Miami. Cameron gave indications last week that he won't be interested in talking head coaching opportunities until after the season, so even if Buffalo were to approach him this week - and again, there aren't any indications they well - Cameron may well turn them down.
Buffalo may intend to interview multiple candidates this week, but they may not get their wish on all fronts. The team, meanwhile, appears to have struck out in attempts to woo Cowher, so their list at this point appears to be exclusively coordinators.