Bills Fire Chan Gailey; Top 10 Ideas to Replace Him as Next Buffalo Head Coach

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor IIIDecember 31, 2012

Bills Fire Chan Gailey; Top 10 Ideas to Replace Him as Next Buffalo Head Coach

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    A tweet from the official Buffalo Bills account said what Bills fans have been expecting for the majority of the 2012 season, that the team had fired head coach Chan Gailey.

    Chan Gailey relieved of duties as head coach Details/comments added as they emerge

    This hardly comes as a major surprise as the Bills were 16-32 under Gailey. In the AFC East division games, they went 4-14 and were outscored in those games by the combined total of 561-346.

    The news today that Gailey was fired allows the Bills to get a head start on finding his replacement, as there are a number of other NFL teams in a similar predicament.

    So far on Black Monday, we have learned that Norv Turner (San Diego), Andy Reid (Philadelphia), Romeo Crennel (Kansas City), Lovie Smith (Chicago) and Pat Shurmur (Cleveland) have already been canned along with Gailey. The ESPN National blog is keeping a running tab on the Black Monday front.

    The fate of other head coaches like Ron Rivera (Carolina) and Ken Whisenhunt (Arizona) is still up in the air.

    Speaking of up in the air, the Bills GM Buddy Nix's job security hasn't been verified as of yet. Since Nix was so sold on Gailey, he could be relieved of his duties as well. If that happens, then the Bills would need to probably identify a new GM before hiring a new head coach. But there are some head coaches that can command that they want to hire their own GM.

    Whether or not that would fly with Bills owner Ralph Wilson remains to be seen.

    Here is a link to a brief press conference that Chan Gailey conducted after being let go today. He shared that the entire coaching staff has been relieved of their duties as well.

    Black Monday isn't just about head coaches. It looks like at least four general managers have been fired today, including: Gene Smith (Jacksonville), Tom Heckert (Cleveland), Mike Tannenbaum (N. Y. Jets) and A.J. Smith (San Diego).

    Following are some ideas for the kind of coaching talent that is available to replace Gailey.

Honorable Mentions

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    Because we still don't know who the GM will be that is in charge of naming the next Bills head coach, here are some names just to get your mind thinking and your blood flowing.

    Ex-NFL head coaches out there: Bill Cowher, Brian Billick, Bill Parcells, Steve Mariucci, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tice, Lovie Smith, Marty Schottenheimer, Eric Mangini and Andy Reid.

    Current College Coaches: Nick Saban (Alabama) and Brian Kelly (Notre Dame).

    NFL Coordinators - Greg Roman (San Francisco O.C.), Dirk Koetter (Atlanta O.C.), Jay Gruden (Cincinnati O.C.), Mel Tucker (Jacksonville D.C.), ex-Bills LB Jim Haslett (Washington D.C.) and Dave Toub (Chicago Special Teams coach).

    Okay, now that your head is spinning, on to our top 10 list.

10) Bill O'Brien

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    Remember that shouting match between Tom Brady and his offensive coordinator in 2011? Well that coordinator was Bill O'Brien, who wound up leaving the team after the Super Bowl to become the next head coach at Penn State to replace legendary Joe Paterno.

    O'Brien came into an ugly situation at Penn State and held the program together. Few players left due to the way that he conducted himself. With NFL coaching experience under Bill Belichick, a good year at Penn State under his belt, O'Brien could easily be in play for one of the NFL head spots open for 2013.

    Finally, due to his job in New England, O'Brien would have some insights into the Patriots offense. He knows the AFC East very well, which is another feather in his cap.

9) Josh McDaniels

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    Josh McDaniels is the New England Patriots offensive coordinator.

    If you can't hire one Patriots O.C. (Bill O'Brien), what about the other one?

    McDaniels failed as the head coach in Denver, but he still has a bright mind, and learned some valuable lessons with the Broncos. Anything that strips away the talent in New England is a good thing for Buffalo.

8) Mike Zimmer

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    Mike Zimmer is the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator. 

    Zimmer has a solid track record of performance, leading the highly thought of Bengals defense. The Bengals finished the 2012 season with the No. 6 overall defense, which is a slight improvement over their No. 7 overall ranking from 2011.

    If the Bills want to upgrade the defensive scheme, they will look long and hard at Zimmer. If you have ever observed Zimmer on the sidelines during a Bengals game, he is full of fire and passion, which is like the anti-Dick Jauron.

    If the Bills want to upgrade their defensive unit, and play with a defense that does more blitzing, Zimmer would be a logical candidate to bring in.

7) Mike McCoy

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    Mike McCoy is the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator that proved that he could devise a winning offense with anybody from Peyton Manning to Tim Tebow. That is saying something.

    McCoy will be a hot commodity around the NFL, but the Broncos expect to go far in the playoffs.

    If they make it to the Super Bowl, it would be a similar deal to what happened with New England Patriots O.C. Bill O'Brien who was juggling coaching interviews while trying to prepare the Patriots for the Super Bowl.

    McCoy might be in a tough spot with his duties as the offensive coordinator in Denver. Teams will want to identify their head coach soon, so they can start putting together their coaching staffs together.

6) Doug Marrone

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    Doug Marrone is currently the head coach at Syracuse. He led the Orangemen to a win over Geno Smith and West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl

    Marrone is a native New Yorker, and attended Syracuse where he played for the school. He went on to coach at Georgia Tech before moving on to the NFL, where he served as the offensive coordinator for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints from 2006-2008.

    Marrone has served in various coaching capacities with a focus on offense. If the Bills want to consider an offensive mind, Marrone could make sense on a number of levels.

5) Bruce Arians

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    Bruce Arians did a remarkable job with the Indianapolis Colts this year under adverse conditions. Arians got a raw deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was able to make the most of it due to fate, hard work and being at the right place at the right time.

    Arians could very well emerge as the 2012 NFL Coach of the Year award winner. He held the Colts team together while Chuck Pagano was wrapped up in his battle to try to overcome leukemia.

    Not only did Arians lead the Colts to the playoffs, but it was his first year with the team. He took a bunch of strangers and got them to play together, and play inspired football on top of it.

    Arians has a strong offensive mind, has been involved in a number of big games, and is ready for a shot at coaching his own team.

4) Kyle Shanahan

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    Kyle Shanahan is the offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins. He is the son, of course, of Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan.

    While Kyle is still employed as the offensive coordinator for Robert Griffin III and company, he has been a coordinator that has been discussed around the league as being ready for the next challenge.

    Coming on board as a head coach would allow him to flourish on his own, and away from his father's protective watch.

    The Washington offense made strong use of the running game this year, as they were the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL. With backs like C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson already on board, that would give Shanahan some tools to work with from the get go.

    Calling the offense that led Washington to a title in the NFC East will do wonders for Shanahan's chances at landing a head coaching assignment. He will probably need to wait to interview until their postseason run is concluded.

3) Jon Gruden

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    Jon Gruden has enjoyed a successful run as the color commentator for ESPN's Monday Night Football. But his heart is in coaching, and it would not be a surprise to see him back on the football field in a coaching capacity in 2013.

    Gruden has been away from the coaching profession since the 2008 season, so he needs to get back to a coaching job soon, or he will continue to be viewed as stale with every passing year that he remains in the booth.

    He has the passion and the fire in his belly to be successful and has the ability to bring a certain element of toughness that hasn't been observed in a Bills head coach for quite a long time.

    Finally, he does have a Super Bowl ring to his credit, and anytime you can land a head coach with that bullet point on their resume, that boosts his stock considerably.

2) Perry Fewell

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    Perry Fewell is currently the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. Fewell led the Giants defense to a Super Bowl championship last year when he came up with a game plan that succeeded in containing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots high-powered offense. 

    Fewell served as the Bills defensive coordinator from 2006-2009, and when Dick Jauron was fired as head coach, it was Fewell that received the promotion over Bobby April to become interim head coach.

    Fewell would bring far more passion and fire to the job than what we witnessed from Gailey, who was far too reserved, stoic and conservative to do much in the way of firing up his team.

    With all of the jobs available around the league, Fewell will definitely be in play. For one thing, he is one of the leading Rooney Rule candidates in the NFL, so he will have a full dance card for that fact alone. But, he has proven that he can coach at this level, and that he is deserving of taking on his own team.

1) Chip Kelly

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    With the success of college football quarterbacks coming into the NFL, there is little wonder that the high-powered attack of the Oregon Ducks, and their head coach Chip Kelly is in demand in the NFL.

    Look at the last four years at Oregon under Kelly. He took them to the National Championship game against Auburn and Cam Newton. He led the team to two Rose Bowl appearances. His combined record in the last four years is 45-7.

    His offense has been exploding for the last three years running. His team scored 54 touchdowns on offense in 2009. That number increased to 73 offensive touchdowns in 2010, and then took another jump up to 81 in 2011. This year the offense came in with 80 touchdowns in just 12 games.

    That is some serious production.

    For the sharp offensive mind that Kelly has, he will be in high demand in the NFL. Teams that only have the luxury to prepare for his games with one-week turnaround will have a nightmare on their hands.