Sorting through potential Bills' coaching staff changes

With Rex Ryan's deal with the Buffalo Bills now official, the process of building his coaching staff begins.

The most pressing question is if Ryan and Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will decide to work together. The two will meet soon, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, and Schwartz remains undecided on if he wants to remain in Buffalo.

The Bills have also finalized a deal with San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman for the same job in Buffalo, according to reports from Fox Sports and CSN Bay Area.

In addition, sources told ESPN New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini that Ryan will try to hire several of his former Jets assistants, including defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, defensive assistant Jeff Weeks, defensive backs coach Tim McDonald, quarterbacks coach David Lee and possibly assistant head coach/running backs Anthony Lynn and offensive assistant Tony Sparano, Jr.

With that in mind, let's reset the Bills' coaching staff, which has undergone several changes since the end of the season:

Offensive coordinator

2014 Bills: Nate Hackett

2014 Jets: Marty Mornhinweg

Quick take: This will be Roman's job shortly. In terms of yards per game, Roman's 49ers ranked 20th last season, Mornhinweg's Jets ranked 22nd and Hackett's Bills ranked 26th.

Quarterbacks coach

2014 Bills: Todd Downing

2014 Jets: David Lee

Quick take: This adds an extra layer to the Ryan-Schwartz dynamic, as Downing came up through the ranks with Schwartz's Lions and followed him to Buffalo last year. If Lee comes to Buffalo, as Ryan wants, it would likely force Downing out of the picture.

Running backs coach

2014 Bills: Tyrone Wheatley

2014 Jets: Anthony Lynn (also assistant head coach)

Quick take: Wheatley has already left for the same job at the University of Michigan. Who replaces him could depend on the intentions of Roman and if he brings along any of his staff from San Francisco. The 49ers' running backs coach, Tom Rathman, did not coach with Roman prior to their stint in San Francisco.

Wide receivers coach

2014 Bills: Rob Moore

2014 Jets: Sanjay Lal

Quick take: Moore re-joined Marrone with the Bills after spending an extra season at Syracuse. He doesn't have connections to Ryan or Roman, so it wouldn't be surprising if he finds work elsewhere.

Tight ends coach

2014 Bills: Adkins

2014 Jets: Steve Hagen

Quick take: Like Moore, Adkins followed Marrone from Syracuse and has a long history with the former Bills head coach, making him unlikely to return under the new coaching staff.

Offensive line coach

2014 Bills: Pat Morris

2014 Jets: Mike Devlin

Quick take: This will be an important hire for the Bills, as they'll need to coach a unit that was among the NFL's worst last season. It would be shocking if Morris returns.

Defensive line

2014 Bills: Pepper Johnson

2014 Jets: Karl Dunbar

Quick take: Ryan wants to take Dunbar with him, which is an indication that Johnson isn't likely to return. Johnson interviewed Monday for the New York Giants' defensive coordinator vacancy. With close ties to Bill Belichick, would Johnson mix with Ryan? We doubt it.


2014 Bills: Fred Pagac

2014 Jets: Bobby April III

Quick take: The son of the Bills' former special teams coordinator, Bobby April, was in his first year of the job with the Jets and wasn't among the names that Rex could hire, per Cimini. That opens up the possibilities here. Pagac doesn't have a history with Ryan.

Defensive backs

2014 Bills: Donnie Henderson

2014 Jets: Tim McDonald

Quick take: Ryan wants to bring along McDonald, which could spend the end of Henderson's stint in Buffalo. The well-traveled coach worked with Marrone at Syracuse but has bounced around several NFL teams.

Special teams

2014 Bills: Danny Crossman

2014 Jets: Thomas McGaughey

Quick take: Crossman is one of Marrone's close friends, so it would be surprising if he returns under Ryan.