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Jauron decision could lead to interesting front-office battle over replacement

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

Dick Jauron has been fired, and I can't say I am shocked.

Nice guy, good football coach. He just couldn't make the best of a bad situation.

Jauron has some respect in NFL circles. He'll be all right, ending up on some staff next year.

The Bills? I can't say for sure they will be prosperous.

They face an interesting situation starting with who will replace Jauron long term.

Let's start with the personalities of the men who will be in position to make the decision.

Owner Ralph Wilson, despite being 91, still maintains some level of say on big decisions. Saying he's old school is laughably overstating.

COO Russ Brandon is a marketing guy. He reveled in the Terrell Owens signing, and he knows the team is awash in bad buzz these days. The Bills lost to the Browns team that was completely embarrassed offensively last night.

If I had a guess, I would say Wilson will favor a rock-solid, no-frills coach. Marty Schottenheimer, whose name has received a bit of a kick-start in the past month or so. And I would bet that Brandon would want someone like Jon Gruden (whose new ESPN deal might keep him announcing for a while) or Bill Cowher.

Mike Shanahan, perhaps the biggest name on the coaching free-agent market, likely would require too much personnel control for Brandon's liking. I wonder if the same wouldn't be true for Mike Holmgren, who has hinted he might want to coach on the East Coast, having previously conquered the Midwest and West Coast.

Could Wilson support a guy like Cowher? Yeah, I suppose he could. Blue collar, proven, tough. Cowher has some AFL qualities to him, which I suspect would appeal to the nonegenarian.

But could they get him? It will take a lot of money and control, which might be in short supply up in Buffalo.

My suggestion for a compromise: Why not go for Kirk Ferentz? The Iowa coach is probably the college coach who is most ready to be an NFL coach, more so even than Urban Meyer. Ferentz has quite an NFL resumé and would be a smart, cheaper alternative to the rock-star option that might seem more enticing on the surface. One caveat: Ferentz's deal runs through 2012 and includes a heavy buyout, but I'll have to check on the details of that.

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