This will be the comprehensive list of head coaching candidates for the Buffalo Bills as confirmed by the club. It will be updated as each interview with a candidate is validated by the team. Below we provide some details on each candidate’s coaching career including some of their most notable successes.
Candidate: Kris Richard
Interviewed: January 8th
Most recent position: Defensive coordinator Seattle Seahawks (2015-present)
Coached the Seahawks defense to a top five finish in 2016. The Seattle defense also led the league in fewest yards per carry allowed. They also ranked second in sacks per play and third in points allowed.
In his first season as defensive coordinator the Seahawks ranked second in total defense, first against the run, second against the pass and they led the league in fewest points allowed.
Helped develop the best secondary in the NFL. As cornerbacks coach (2011) turned a CFL all-star in Brandon Browner and a former fifth-round pick in Richard Sherman into top flight NFL cornerbacks.
Led the best secondary in the NFL in 2013 as Seattle’s defensive backs coach. Unit finished first in the NFL in pass defense.
The book on Richard
Intimately familiar with the 4-3 under scheme that he played in under Pete Carroll in college and now coaches in Seattle.
Richard has been brought up in a scheme based on speed and aggressiveness.
Has shown an ability to develop young talent thanks in part to his own NFL experience as a cornerback.
Coaching influences: Pete Carroll, Gus Bradley, Dan Quinn, Paul Hackett
Playing experience: A former third-round pick of Seattle (2002), Richard had a four-year NFL career appearing in 39 games. He spent three seasons with the Seahawks and one with San Francisco.
Candidate: Harold Goodwin
Interviewed: January 7th
Most recent position: Offensive coordinator Arizona Cardinals (2013-present)
Helped take the league’s 32nd ranked offense in 2012 to first in the league in three seasons. In 2015 Arizona’s offense also set single season records for points (489), touchdowns (59) and total net yards (6,533).
Coached the offensive line in Indianapolis in 2012 in front of rookie Andrew Luck guiding the unit to a top 10 finish.
He was part of Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl XLIII winning staff as an offensive assistant. Goodwin worked directly with rookie C Maurkice Pouncey helping him earn Pro Bowl and All-Rookie team honors.
The book on Goodwin
He has worked under Arizona head coach Bruce Arians for the last 10 years in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and now Arizona. Though he has been the Cardinals offensive coordinator, Arians still called the plays.
Goodwin’s specialty on offense has been offensive line play and run game coordination as he was a former offensive lineman himself. Arians expanded his role in 2016 to include preseason installations, practice scripts and relaying plays into the quarterback.
Known as a good developer of offensive line talent.
He interviewed for the Tampa Bay head coaching job last offseason, and has interviewed for the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching post.
Coaching influences: Bruce Arians, Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin, Gary Moeller
Playing experience: Played guard at the University of Michigan (1992-1994), but a knee injury prematurely ended his career.
Candidate: Anthony Lynn
Interviewed: January 5th
Most recent position: Interim head coach Buffalo Bills (2016)
Took over a Bills offense as coordinator in Week 3 and was instrumental in leading the unit to a top 10 ranking in points per game, the team’s first since 2004. Also helped the offense repeat as the number one rushing team in the NFL, becoming only the third team to accomplish the feat in the last 20 years.
Offense led the league in fewest turnovers and set a franchise mark for fewest in a season (12).
As running backs coach of the New York Jets in 2009, the offense led the league in rushing averaging 172 yards per game.
The book on Lynn:
Known as a disciplinarian who is detail oriented, Lynn believes in running a limited number of concepts out of a myriad of different pre-snap looks, formations and personnel groupings. He believes this enables the natural talent of his players to be revealed and allows them to play fast and physical.
Lynn interviewed for three head coaching positions last offseason (Miami, NY Jets, San Francisco), but removed his name from consideration for the 49ers job before a decision was made.
He is reportedly also drawing interest from Denver, Jacksonville, Los Angeles and San Francisco for their vacant head coaching positions.
Coaching influences: Mike Shanahan, George Seifert, Bill Parcells, Rex Ryan, Romeo Crennel
Playing experience: Played six seasons in the NFL as a reserve running back and special teamer for the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. He was part of two Super Bowl teams with Denver.
Candidate: Sean McDermott
Interviewed: January 4th
Most recent position: Defensive coordinator Carolina Panthers (2011-2016)
Had a four-year stretch (2012-2015) in which his defensive unit finished in the top 10 in total defense.
In 2015 his unit led the NFL in takeaways (39) was second in yards allowed per play, fourth against the run, sixth in points allowed and sixth in total defense in the Panthers run to the Super Bowl.
In 2013 was named Sporting News Coordinator of the Year. Defense finished second in the league, led the league in sacks (60) and finished second in points allowed per game (15.1).
The book on McDermott:
Known as a good developer of talent, McDermott has an impressive resume of defensive success. His defenses typically rank high in total defense, run defense, sacks, takeaways and points allowed.
He operates with a 4-3 defensive scheme.
McDermott has interviewed in previous offseasons for head coaching positions with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is reportedly drawing current interest from the San Diego Chargers.
Coaching influences: Ron Rivera, Andy Reid, Steve Spagnuolo, Jim Johnson
Playing experience: All Atlantic-10 safety at William & Mary