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Resetting the Bills’ search for an offensive coordinator

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We all know who Sean McDermott wants to hire. What happens if he can’t land him?

Even before the Bills made Sean McDermott the 18th full-time head coach in team history yesterday, there was plenty of buzz around the possibility of bringing in former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy as the offensive coordinator.

Over the last day, though, things on the McCoy front have become cloudy, and with that so has the search for the next Bills offensive coordinator.

First, there’s McCoy. Reports linked McCoy to McDermott and the Bills job as early as Monday, although saying McDermott would “love to pair with” McCoy is far from definitive. Every team with an opening at the offensive coordinator spot likely feels the same way about him, and he has indeed been linked to several other openings.

The strongest link, by far, is in Denver. McCoy spent four seasons as the Broncos OC before landing the Chargers job, and will be interviewing for the position today according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. There have been some reports out of the Denver press that it’s a done deal, (or maybe not) but the most recent reports have the Broncos and new head coach Vance Joseph looking at “multiple candidates”.

If the Bills can’t land McCoy, then who might they consider? NFL.com’s Michael Silver mentioned the possibility of the Bills bringing in the well-traveled Norv Turner, who has been either an offensive coordinator or head coach (or both) for eight teams dating back to 1991. A few hours later, though, he reversed his course and discounted the possibility of Turner joining the team he won two Super Bowls against as offensive coordinator of the Cowboys.

There has also been plenty of talk around the Bills’ current offensive coordinator, Anthony Lynn. The interim head coach has interviewed with all three teams that still have the head coach position open, and could be the man tapped to replace McCoy with the Chargers. If he’s not, however, it’s important to note that he’s still under contract with the Bills. While he may not be interested in staying with the team after being passed over for the top job, it seems like he would mesh well with the incoming head coach, as both are younger coaches with plenty of experience and a hard-nosed demeanor.

On the other hand, it’s possible that McDermott already has somebody in mind. While there aren’t any obvious candidates that he’s worked with over the years in Philadelphia or Carolina, he has connected with plenty of current head coaches who might have some names to recommend. Chances are, in the same interview where he said he’s love to have McCoy on board, he had a backup plan in case McCoy landed elsewhere.

The position takes on extra importance for the Bills when you consider the situation involving starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. McDermott spent the last six seasons practicing against Cam Newton with the Panthers, and while Taylor and Newton are very different quarterbacks there’s enough similarity there that McDermott may want to keep Taylor around, despite the plethora of reports that have Tyrod on his way out of town. If his offensive coordinator comes from a similar vein, it might be a good indication that Tyrod will stay in Buffalo. If his OC pick prefers a traditional pocket passer-type, Taylor might be jettisoned in favor of Mike Glennon, Kirk Cousins, or a draft prospect like North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky.

When a new head coach is hired, the most important hire is usually the coordinator for the side of the ball on which the incoming coach hasn’t worked. It’s also interesting to see whether a rookie head coach is going to look to someone experienced to lean on in their first few years on the job. That’s why this hire is so important for McDermott, and it’s why we’ll be keeping a very close eye on it over the next few days as things shake out in Buffalo, Denver, and elsewhere around the league.