Buffalo Bills: Realistic Possibilities for the Head Coaching Job

Greg MaiolaSenior Analyst IIDecember 31, 2012

Buffalo Bills: Realistic Possibilities for the Head Coaching Job

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    Hallelujah, Chan Gailey has been shown the door! Sure, another head coaching change may lead to another personnel turnover, but firing Gailey was a step the Bills needed to take.

    For Bills fans, the 2012-2013 Indianapolis Colts should be looked at for inspiration. The franchise was 2-14 a year ago but finished this year 11-5 and earned the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs. And that came after a change at coach, general manager and a massive change in personnel.

    This list looks at some early candidates that could come into Buffalo and make a quick turnaround for the playoff-starved franchise.

    Here are some realistic possibilities to take over head coaching duties for the Buffalo Bills in 2013.

    (If you feel that there are other realistic possibilities that I missed, sound off in the comments below!)

Perry Fewell

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    Remember this guy? Well, a return to Buffalo from the New York Giants may make for a joyous reunion.

    Perry Fewell was the Bills defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009 and earned the respect of fans when he took over head coaching duties after Dick Jauron was fired during the middle of the 2009 season. Fewell was able to finish out the season 3-4 and incorporated Terrell Owens into the offense far more effectively than Jauron ever could.

    Fewell was able to stretch the field, take advantage of a playmaker like Owens and score points on offense. However, his specialty remains on defense, which is exactly where Buffalo needs help.

    He has been with the Giants since 2010 and helped develop one of the fiercest pass-rushing defenses in the entire league. If he were to return to Buffalo, he would be able to show off his Super Bowl ring, something the city has salivated over since the Bills moved to the NFL.

    If Fewell were to come to Buffalo, he has a great defensive line to work with, He might even be able to lure Osi Umenyiora over from New York to start opposite of Mario Williams. He has the experience of running an NFL team, and he can help strengthen the team's secondary and linebackers.

    Fewell is a familiar face in Buffalo and felt that he deserved the head coaching job that Chan Gailey took in 2010. If Fewell were to return, there would be a level of comfort already in place and he already knows the expectations. Since he has no ties to most of the players, cleaning house wouldn't be too much of a problem.

    Though some Bills fans want to see a high-profile coach land with the Bills, Fewell may be a smart hire and a quick solution to fixing a mediocre defense and to get Buffalo back on track to the playoffs.

Bruce Arians

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    Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians may win the NFL Coach of the Year. Since Chuck Pagano went out to fight leukemia, Arians guided the Colts to the No. 5 seed the AFC playoffs and helped the team finish 11-5.

    Arians was able to take an offense that started a rookie quarterback, rookie running back and two rookie tight ends and mold it into an efficient unit. He took over interim duties and was able to keep a team disciplined and emotionally stable during the highs of winning and the lows of its coach struggling for his life.

    His ability to mold a young and inexperienced team to an 11-5 record will make Arians a sought-after coach this offseason. And Buffalo would be smart to go after him.

    The Bills have C.J. Spiller to be the centerpiece of the offense. They also have a solid receiver in Stevie Johnson and a big tight end in Scott Chandler. Arians may be able to take those pieces and develop something special in Buffalo.

    Arians would be influential in bringing in a new quarterback, and he would be able to use Buffalo's current playmakers to create an offense that takes advantage of what Buffalo already has.

    If the Bills want to develop an efficient and consistent offense, Arians might be their guy. He is a proven leader and one of the most respected men in all of football.

    The only problem may be that Arians might not want out of Indy. He didn't go there for the job to be a transition job but has not had the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL in all of his years. He might want to stay with Pagano and continue to lead the Colts offense, but the opportunity to coach an NFL team may be too good to pass up.

Kyle Shanahan

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    Since the Buffalo Bills couldn't land Mike Shanahan a few years back, why not try to land his son?

    Kyle Shanahan is the offensive coordinator for his father with the Washington Redskins and has put together an elite offense with the team.

    The Redskins were 3-6 at one point this season, only to win seven straight and capture the NFC East crown. This streak was able to happen due to the fantastic play of the starting rookie quarterback, the clutch play of the backup rookie quarterback and the consistent play of the starting rookie running back.

    Shanahan was able to utilize Robert Griffin III in the spread option to take advantage of his athleticism and rushing ability. RG3 could stand in the pocket to deliver bullets downfield or turn the corner on a run and take off. Alfred Morris rushed for over 1,600 yards, and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins was more than ready when his number was called to help keep Washington in playoff contention.

    The ability for Shanahan to take advantage of the talent that RG3 has and to build the entire offense around it indicates that he is ready to become a head coach. There was a steady mix of youth and experience on offense, and Shanahan was able to utilize both rookies and veterans to create one of the most explosive offenses in all of football.

    The Buffalo Bills have a few players in place on offense, and Shanahan might be able to figure out ways to showcase that talent for an entire 16-game schedule. He has learned a thing or two from his Super Bowl champion father and knows how to implement a high-scoring offense.

    If the Bills want to be competitive in the AFC East in the upcoming years, Shanahan would be able to develop a fantastic offense and really push Buffalo into playoff contention soon.

Lovie Smith

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    Lovie Smith was surprisingly fired after leading the Chicago Bears to a 10-6 record in 2012, but a change of scenery may benefit Smith in the long run.

    Smith had been the Bears coach since 2004 and led the team to the Super Bowl following the 2006 season and was the 2005 NFL Coach of the Year. In his nine seasons as coach, the Bears were 81-63, with three NFC North titles, five winning seasons and one double-digit loss season.

    If the Buffalo Bills want to go out and get a proven coach, Smith has the track record in this league to make them successful.

    The Bears have had some great defenses under Smith, and Buffalo needs a lot of help on defense. The Bills currently have some bright spots on defense that simply need the right coaching in order to get better. The Bears also had a pretty successful offense under Smith, who knows how to use the players he is given to work with.

    Since the Bills play in the AFC East, they need to build their defense to take down Tom Brady and Bill Belichick twice a year. Smith has the potential to come in and quickly make a turnaround on defense.

    If Ralph Wilson wants to see the Bills compete for a Super Bowl one last time at his old age, Smith might be the only coach out there that can make the quick turnaround.

Pete Carmichael

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    The New Orleans Saints have had one of the elite offenses in all of football over the last few seasons. No, the man behind the prolific offense is not Sean Payton or Drew Brees. It's offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.

    Carmichael is only 41 years old and has yet to have a head coaching position at any level. Regardless, he has been the one calling plays for the Saints since the 2009 season.

    Under Carmichael, Brees has amassed 5,000 yards and 40-plus touchdowns in consecutive seasons, along with 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. The running back-by-committee approach has kept the backs fresh and ready to rumble when they hit the field. The utilization of Jimmy Graham has been nothing short of brilliant.

    Carmichael has the play-calling ability to make the Bills relevant offense. The Saints have been very explosive on offense the past four years and even won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season, all to Carmichael's credit.

    He would be able to make the right calls with whatever personnel Buffalo has on the field in 2013. His Saints were a threat to score on any given play, and he can take that production to Buffalo.

    If the Bills want to be a strong offense that scores points at a high rate (K-Gun, anyone?), Carmichael may be the man to help light up the score board.