When the news came down that the Ravens had fired Cam Cameron a few weeks ago, I, along with a few other peeps, decided to tweet that he'd be great as the next Bills' coach. Of course, we were all kidding. But a possibility with this regime? Of course! Especially with Cameron's ties to Buddy Nix.
We all know you can't be counted on as a retread until you get hired for your 2nd tour of head coaching duty. I went over yesterday what the success ratio was for those guys and it isn't exactly bad. The list I'm compiling now are of assistant coaches who failed as a head coach, but are now sitting pretty with an assistant job.
In terms of getting them to come to this hell hole, they are probably your safest bets to entice. Unless you have Super Bowl Rings or multiple playoff appearances under your belt, once you fail as a head coach, you goto the back of the line in terms of being rehired again. Young assistants will get the first cracks before you do. In essence, you have the scarlet letter of failing in the NFL. It is like when a girl hooks up with your best friend and then shows interest in you. Do you really want to go through that after your friend did? I sure as hell don't. You want someone that you and only YOU can put your stamp on.
The unknown is better than the known.
Because of the long hill they have to climb to get that 2nd coaching duty, they are desperate. It isn't by accident that by reports, Brian Schottenheimer, Alex Gibbs and Jim Harbaugh said no to the Bills in 2009, yet, Brian Billick, Mike Martz and Marty Schottenheimer were on board to come here.
Of course Cam Cameron or Mike Nolan would love to come here. What are their options at this point? Young assistants can wait it out and be more picky with where they want to go. Of course, playing hard to get can bite you in the ass like it did to Brian Schotteheimer and Alex Gibbs, who are still assistant coaches.
In terms of selling the job, the soon to be retreads may be where the Bills can go. So, here is your list:
Jim Caldwell- If Peyton Manning doesn't get injured last year, Caldwell is probably still coaching the Colts. During his first two years as the head coach, he went 24-8 and guided the Colts to the Super Bowl. Of course, the wheels came off once #18 was finished last year. Before that, he worked under Dungy as the Qbs coach from 2002-2008. Frankly, I think he kind of got boned in Indy. Now, he's the offensive coordinator for the Ravens. If Caldwell gets a lot of Flacco and their offense from here on out, his stock will go up. Factor in that Bill Polian would probably put in a good word for him and you may have a deal. Overall, I like him and wouldn't mind him being here.
Josh McDaniels- He's young and he has a lot of fire. He also comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree that has been sprouting turds instead of apples. He started off hot in Denver in 2009, going 6-0 and beating the Patriots, but then he lost 6 of his last 8 games. It was a monumental collapse. The following year was worse, as McDaniels drafted Tebow in the 1st round, traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn, and was caught cheating. He was fired after just 12 games. I think you could say he had way too much power in Denver and was better served to have a strong GM with player moves like those. Pros: Kyle Orton threw for almost 8,000 yards in two seasons. They beat the Pats. He's coached under Belichick. Didn't have enough time in Denver. Kind of an asshole. Cons: Believed in Tebow. Cheated. Kind of an asshole (It works both ways). Failed in St. Louis as an offensive coordinator in 2011 (Last in scoring). Belichick coaching tree (Works both ways) Consensus: I kind of like McDaniels because the story of him trying to beat the master would be fun. Plus, he doesn't seem like the type to take shit from the higher ups, which the Bills need. Forget the company line and being happy with an NFL coaching job. However, he believed in Tebow and was awful in St. Louis last year. How good is he without Tom Brady?
Jake Del Rio- He's only 49-years-old, yet, you'd think he's been in the NFL forever. His tenure with Jacksonville started off nicely, 45 wins in 5 seasons and two playoff appearances, but ended badly with zero playoff appearances and seasons above .500 over the next four years. However, you could view his tenure as being somewhat passable when you consider that the Jags are kind of a mediocre franchise. They were frugal with paying for players and he always seemed to bump heads with management (See: Leftwich and Garrard QB situations). Right now, he's in his first year as defensive coordinator for the Broncos and their defense is currently ranked 3rd after being 20th last season. Verdict: Eh. Feels a level or two higher on the Jauron/Gailey retread scale, but not exactly getting me to do backflips. Good defensive coach, but didn't really seem to know offense all that much. I'd probably have to talk to a Jags fan to get a better feeling for him.
Brad Childress- The man nicknamed as Chilly because he was kind of a dick. Childress became a punch line during the 2010 season because of all the Brett Favre drama and the trading for Randy Moss, only to then cut him after a month. I know a few Vikings fans who would wish death on him for what he did in Minnesota. Now the Moss thing is funny, cause he cut the dude without consulting with management. As you can tell by my writing about finding the perfect coach, being defiant with your bosses is something I endorse because everyone at One Bills Drive is a moron. Now, if you look at his record there, he did have two playoff appearances in five years and was one stupid Brett Favre INT away from the Super Bowl. Heck, he even had Tarvaris Jackson as his QB and they went to the playoffs as a wildcard! See, Chan couldn't even risk having Jackson as the backup, yet, Childress had him start. Alright, none of that matters, really. He also knows how to use a running back (See: Peterson, Adrian). Currently, he's the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator where he hasn't done too much with Brandon Weeden or Trent Richardson. However, that is a pretty young team. Verdict: Eh. He seems like Wade Phillips to me. Look at his record and think he's fine, but when you live with him, you hate his guts. Plus, he sports a Britney Spears headset. I can't have that.
Jim Haslett- Haslett has been on Bills' fans radars for years now. He was a popular player during the 80s here and is good for a quote or two. He's the epitome for blue collar Bills fan living in North Tonawanda. However, he just doesn't do much for me. He had only one playoff season in New Orleans and has been poor to mediocre in his stints in St. Louis and Washington. His defenses have ranked in points allowed as followed: 28th, 31st, 31st, 21st, 21st and 21st. Verdict: No, thanks. I don't remember him as a player here, so, I have no attachment like your dad does.
Rex Ryan- Alright, put this in the pipe dream or worst nightmare category. I'm not sure if he's gonna get served his walking papers with the Jets, but if he does, he could be one of those coaches who gets rehired rather quickly. Why? He's a marketing tool. He was hired more/less in NYC because he can get headlines and get fans excited. I gotta admit, having him here with his don't take shit from anyone/we are going to win attitude would be refreshing and enticing. He knows defense and when you look at the best part about his team, you have to start with the defensive line and the youth in the secondary. Think he'd like coaching Mario, Kyle and Marcell? What about Byrd playing in the box more? Plus, Rex likes to run the football. He knows how to coach in a 4-3 and 3-4 defense. He has been to the AFC Championship twice. Problems: Can be a distraction, doesn't know offense, and may be over-hyped because of the NYC market. Verdict: As much as I hate the Jets and anything that goes into that organization, I would totally be on board with this. Think about it? He could get revenge on the Jets and has Belichick on his radar twice a year. Also, you think he's going to repeat the company lines about progress and being one bounce away from 7-7? Hell, no. He'll punch out Russ Brandon before he says that. The thought of turning around a crappy organization could be something he'd enjoy. Alright, unless someone suffocates Ralph in his sleep, this probably won't happen. The thought of Rex calling Ralph daily would be like the Jerky Boys making prank calls -funny and unrealistic.
Andy Reid- It seems like his office is already empty with nothing more than leftover White Castle. He may be the Lindy Ruff of the NFL. He's a good coach, but it seems like his message has grown stale there. He does have a bunch of division titles on his resume, but he also has a lot of losing NFC Championship games too. So, he's a combination of Lindy Ruff and the 90s Bills in him. Wonderful. Verdict: Yeah, I'd take him. WTF. Beggars can't be choosers at this point. He'd do a lot of nice things with Spiller (See: McCoy and Westbrook), but he'd also be very pass happy. Vick/Reid combo? God, can we get more retreaded than that? Frankly, I think Reid will more than likely take a year off since he's been coaching since 1999 and his son died this year. He seems like a guy who would want the perfect situation and would wait it out.
Final word: As it currently stands and I'm not counting interim jobs here, there are 16 former head coaches who are currently offensive/defensive coordinators. The list consists of Mike Tice, Marty Mornhinweg, Kevin Gilbride, Dom Capers, Mike Sherman, Jim Hasslett, Dave Wannstedt, Josh McDaniels, Jake Del Rio, Rod Marinelli, Scott Linehan, Wade Phillips, Tony Sprano, Jim Caldwell, Brad Childress and Mike Nolan. Do the math and that's about 25% of the coordinators in the league.
This isn't exactly that impressive of a coaching tree, is it?
Excluding Ryan and Reid because they aren't fired yet, it boils down to McDaniels and Caldwell. I'm going to give the slight edge to Caldwell. I just can't ignore the Belichick tree and McDaniels tenure in St. Louis last year. How much does Belichick/Brady help his former assistants? A lot. I know you can say the same for Caldwell with Manning, but he did make a Super Bowl by himself. If he does well with Flacco for the rest of the year, he's a clear cut favor in the bracket of soon to be retreads. Plus, Dungy's coaching tree (Tomlin, Fraizer and Lovie Smith) is better than Belichick's.
I'll probably but McDaniels in my list of finalists, but Caldwell is leading the pack of 2nd chances.
Up next: College coaches