Sure, we've discussed this topic before - twice, in fact. But after the Bills announced that they've restructured their front office, filling the void at offensive coordinator is next on Buffalo's to-do list. With the front office restructure, we've had confirmed what many fans believed before the process started: Ralph Wilson likes his front office, likes Dick Jauron, and will let the head coach hold all the hiring power as far as his coaching staff is concerned.
So, post-restructure, let's open this back up to discussion. Who should be Buffalo's next offensive coordinator? Two candidates have been rumored to be front-runners for the job; I'll throw out two other names of men who have a realistic shot at getting the job. Feel free to critique, folks - I know I will.
Turk Schonert, QB Coach, Buffalo
- Reports this week indicated that league sources believe that Schonert (pictured in this post during his playing days) is the most likely candidate to take the coordinator position in Buffalo. Nothing official has broken, of course, but Schonert appears to be the only in-house candidate Jauron will consider. Schonert has never held a coordinator role at the NFL level. If he gets the nod, it will hardly be the most exciting promotion we've seen; it would also be hard to condemn the man, too - we literally have no track record to be excited or upset should he get hired.
Greg Olson, former Offensive Coordinator, St. Louis
- As it stands right now, Olson seems like the most likely external candidate to nail down the job. He was a candidate for this position back in 2006; the only reason the Bills hired Steve Fairchild that season was because Olson took up the coordinator post in St. Louis. If it turns out that Jauron isn't comfortable handing the reigns to Schonert, look for the coach to bring Olson in. Olson, remember, was made a scapegoat in St. Louis by their head coach, Scott Linehan, so that Linehan could save his own job.
And now for the names I'm suggesting:
Hue Jackson, Offensive Coordinator, Atlanta
- Jackson may be my favorite candidate for this job. Why? Experience. He's enjoyed two one-year stints as a coordinator (2003 in Washington under Steve Spurrier, and last season in Atlanta), and was also responsible for developing Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh as their position coach in Cincinnati. He is a strong play-caller (the fact that he got any production in Atlanta this season is miraculous - heck, even Joey Harrington looked semi-competent), and has a strong offensive pedigree. He would bring a level of comfort and progress to this offense that not even Olson could achieve amongst the fan base.
Mike Shula, QB Coach, Jacksonville
- For some reason, the Jaguars' coaching staff is very enticing. Jacksonville has a great offense, and a talented, deep coaching staff. Part of the Jags' success this season was the rapid development of QB David Garrard - and he got there under the coaching of Mike Shula. The son of Don has coordinating experience (Tampa Bay under Tony Dungy) and head coaching experience (U. of Alabama), and again would bring a bit different offensive attack to the table. (Jacksonville's RB coach, Kennedy Pola, also intrigues me.)
No. I didn't throw out names like Cam Cameron and Mike Tice. Why? Not because they're unqualified candidates; it's just not likely, at this point, that either will receive interest from the Bills. Jackson and Shula may not receive interest either - but as it stands now, they are guys that Jauron seems more likely to bring in for an interview.