AP Sources: Lynn front-runner to become Bills head coach
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn is the clear favorite to take over the job permanently, two people with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday.
One person called Lynn’s succession to replace Rex Ryan as being ”the working plan.” Another person said the final decision on general manager Doug Whaley’s recommendation rests solely with owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
Both people spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity on Sunday because the Bills have not revealed details of their coaching search.
Lynn is the Bills offensive coordinator. He was promoted to be the team’s interim head coach after Ryan was fired on Tuesday. Lynn will be on the sideline on Sunday, when Buffalo (7-8) closes the season at the New York Jets (4-11).
A third person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The AP that former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is a candidate to become the Bills defensive coordinator under Lynn. Bradley was fired by the Jaguars two weeks ago.
The plan to hire Lynn could still be derailed in Buffalo because he is still required to conduct a formal interview. There’s also the potential of other teams expressing interest to interview him for their respective openings.
There’s no timetable yet for the Bills to reach a decision in hiring what will be their third coach since Chan Gailey was fired following the 2012 season. The next coach will also be Buffalo’s eighth since 2000, when the franchise began what has become the NFL’s longest active playoff drought.
Though he has no previous head-coaching experience, Lynn at least represents a semblance for continuity because he is familiar with the team during his two years with the Bills.
A former NFL running back, Lynn is overseeing a LeSean McCoy-led offense that is in a position to lead the NFL in yards rushing for a second consecutive season.
Lynn’s ascension has been swift this season. He’s a long-time Ryan assistant who opened the year as Buffalo’s running backs coach. Lynn was then promoted to offensive coordinator in September after Ryan fired Greg Roman following an 0-2 start.
Lynn split a six-year NFL career between Denver and San Francisco in the 1990s, and then broke into the coaching ranks in 2000 as a Broncos offensive and special teams assistant. Lynn then served as running backs coach in Jacksonville, Dallas and Cleveland before being hired to Ryan’s staff with the New York Jets in 2009.
Bradley entered the discussions because the Bills will need a defensive specialist to oversee a unit that under-performed under Ryan . The Bills have been particularly porous against the run in allowing opposing players to top 200 yards rushing three times this season – including Miami’s Jay Ajayi twice.
Before taking over in Jacksonville in 2013, Bradley served as the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator. In 2012, the Seahawks allowed an NFL-low and franchise-record 15.3 points per game.
In Jacksonville, Bradley oversaw one of the least successful coaching tenures in NFL history before being fired following a 21-20 loss at Houston. He finished with a 14-48 record in four seasons in Jacksonville, which represented the worst winning percentage (.225) of any NFL coach with at least 60 games.
AP Sports Writer Mark Long contributed from Jacksonville, Florida.
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