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Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator candidates

Who will Sean McDermott pick to run Buffalo’s offense?

The next Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator is not going to excite anyone by his name alone.

With Mike McCoy, presumably the “hottest” offensive-coordinator candidate on the market, agreeing to become the Broncos offensive coordinator, there aren’t many (any?) “big” names left.

But the splash hire doesn’t always mean it’s the best one. Bills fans should know that by now.

So, here’s a list of available candidates to be the Bills offensive coordinator at the start of the McDermott era in Buffalo.

Bill Musgrave

Pure speculation here, but Musgrave is probably the favorite to be the next Bills offensive coordinator at this point. Why? Two main reasons — he has extensive coaching experience and is fresh off a nice stint as an offensive coordinator.

Who knows — McDermott may not care if his offensive coordinator has tons of experience in that gig. But the Leslie Frazier hire (someone whom he was familiar with) indicates the first-team head coach may want plenty of coaching experience around him.

And Frazier would be the tie here — when Frazier was Minnesota’s head coach, Musgrave was his offensive coordinator.

Musgrave, 49, has been in the NFL since 1997 outside of two years spent as the offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia in 2001 and 2002. He’s worked with a myriad of quality quarterbacks, most namely Byron Leftwich (in Jacksonville), Matt Ryan (in Atlanta), and, most recently, Derek Carr (in Oakland). There have been some stinkers of course, but Christian Ponder did start 16 games for the Vikings in 2012 (when Musgrave was the offensive coordinator), completed 62.1% of his passes, and threw 18 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, the only time in a season he tossed more touchdowns than picks.

Duce Staley

After starring as a running back at the beginning of the Andy Reid era, a quick stop in Pittsburgh and some time away from the NFL, Staley joined the Eagles coaching staff in 2011, so there was no McDermott-Staley overlap in the City of Brotherly Love.

However, Staley’s been Philadelphia’s running backs coach since 2013.

In his first year in that role, LeSean McCoy had his best, highest-volume season in the NFL. He led the league in carries (314), rushing yards (1,607) and rushing yards per game (100.4) en route to his second First-Team All-Pro selection. Staley, 41, has never been an offensive coordinator.

Matt Nagy

Nagy isn’t necessarily a well-known name among casual NFL fans, but he has a respectable resume and connections to McDermott through the Andy Reid coaching tree.

After two years as a coaching intern for the Eagles (2008 and 2009), Nagy spent a year as a coaching assistant before being named offensive quality control coach in 2011. Reid brought Nagy, 38, with him to Kansas City and promoted him to quarterbacks coach, a gig he held from 2013 to 2015. This past year, he took another step up the ladder, receiving the title of co-offensive coordinator, although Reid called the plays on that side of the ball.

Nagy’s time spent with the mobile, low-turnover-rate Alex Smith could be intriguing for McDermott if he (and the Bills front office) want to keep Tyrod Taylor.

Brad Childress

Childress was the other co-offensive coordinator in Kansas City. If McDermott wants to go the “experience” route, Childress would get the nod over Nagy.

Sticking with what has essentially become the theme of this article, Childress represents a branch of the Reid coaching true. He was Reid’s quarterback coach and offensive coordinator from 1999 to 2005 in Philly before getting the Vikings head coach job in 2006.

Enter another Frazier connection. Childress, 60, hired Frazier as his defensive coordinator in Minnesota in 2007 and he stayed in that role until 2010 before replacing Childress when he was fired that season.

From 2013 to 2015, in Kansas City, he had the interesting “spread game” analyst label before getting the co-offensive coordinator job this past season.

Scott Turner

Apparently, Norv Turner won’t be coming to Buffalo as offensive coordinator. His son could though.

Turner, 34, does have direct familiarity with McDermott from their time spent together in Carolina. Turner was the Panthers’ offensive quality control coach in 2011 and 2012, meaning he worked with Cam Newton.

After a season with his dad in Cleveland, Norv brought his son with him to Minnesota in 2014, Teddy Bridgewater’s rookie campaign.

He’s been the Vikings’ quarterback coach for the past three seasons. One would have to think he did some quality work with Bridgewater, and helped to get the most out of Sam Bradford in 2016. No coordinator experience, but going from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator is a typical move in the NFL.

Ken Dorsey

For the past four seasons, Dorsey, 35, has been the quarterbacks coach in Carolina. McDermott likely knows him well.

His current gig is the only work he’s done as a coach in the NFL. He’s a long-shot candidate, but one who could draw some (read: a small amount of) interest from the Bills head coach.

Chip Kelly

Oh yeah.... Chip Kelly is a free-agent coach with an offensive background! Forgot about him. Shoot, crazier things have happened. You don’t need a rehashing of his coaching background and/or roller-coaster tenure in the NFL. Oh, wait, forgot something else. Yeah, the LeSean McCoy thing. Awwwkward. Chip coming to the Bills? Extremely doubtful, but it doesn’t hurt to mention him. He is qualified for the opening.