The Buffalo Bills have their head coach, and could have their two major coordinators in place as well.
The Bills hired former Jets coach Rex Ryan on Sunday, pulling off a surprise hire after an even more surprising vacancy. The team appeared set to move forward with second-year coach Doug Marrone, but on New Year’s Eve he chose to exercise his opt-out clause, taking $4 million and leaving the team.
The Bills didn’t appear to be in the running for Rex Ryan, who interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons mid-week and was reportedly the team’s pick. But the Falcons dragged their feet, and sources say Ryan was turned off by the front office’s involvement in football decisions, so he opted to pick the Bills.
With Rex Ryan in place, the Bills could soon have their offensive and defensive coordinators picked. Sources say Ryan wants to keep Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who this season created one of the league’s top defenses.
The #Bills have “every intention” of keeping DC Jim Schwartz, just told by high-ranking team source.
— Vic Carucci (@viccarucci) January 11, 2015
Rex Ryan has told Jim Schwartz he would like him to stay as his DC, a source said. Schwartz has coached 3-4 before, but it has been a while.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 11, 2015
There are mixed reports on the future of Jim Schwartz, however. Other reports say Ryan wants to bring the Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, though it’s not clear in what context.
Rex Ryan wants to bring the majority of his defensive staff with him to Buffalo, including defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. #nyj
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) January 11, 2015
For offensive coordinator, Rex Ryan is reportedly looking at former San Franciso 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He and Ryan were assistant coaches together in Baltimore before Roman went to Stanford.
As ProFootballTalk noted, Roman could have a big task in turning around the Bills offense.
“That job went well for three years as the 49ers advanced to at least the NFC Championship Game each year and went to the Super Bowl with Colin Kaepernick, but they slipped to 8-8 this year with a passing offense that misfired on a grand scale. Roman will have to turn that around in Buffalo whether Manuel or someone else is the quarterback or Ryan’s tenure in Buffalo could play out a lot like his first stop in the AFC East.”
Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills reportedly reached an agreement on Sunday evening on a contract, but Greg Roman and Jim Schwartz have yet to make it official.