Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn is far and away the front-runner for the permanent job, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, with strong internal support from team management and ownership. Owner Terry Pegula fired Rex Ryan last week and promoted Lynn, with the intention of making the job his beyond Week 17 as the team again transitions from a tumultuous coaching/front office relationship.
Pegula had been mulling sacking Ryan in-season for a month, as previously reported, and Lynn had long been viewed as the heir apparent. General manager Doug Whaley clashed with Ryan and was pushing ownership hard to make a coaching change, and sources said he had been meeting with Lynn for weeks to go over key offensive personnel and issues.
As reported, the firing of Ryan would culminate with the benching of Tyrod Taylor as starting quarterback, and the front office is very high on rookie Cardale Jones as the potential quarterback of the future. Lynn is aligned with that plan and is also on board with the push to generate more explosion in the passing game in 2017, focused around former first-round pick Sammy Watkins, who Whaley gambled on by trading up to select in a receiver-rich 2014 draft class.
Pegula has been committed to continuity on his staff, even in the face of the inevitable firing of Ryan and his brother, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan -- a very divisive figure in that organization -- and keeping Lynn as coach beyond this game achieves that goal. The fact there is harmony between Lynn and Whaley also contributed to his eventual promotion, and key players like Watkins and LeSean McCoy are proponents of Lynn's and have made their support of Lynn clear to management and ownership.
While the Bills may still conduct a nominal coaching search, it's Lynn's job for all intents and purposes. Whaley has strong ties to Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who could potentially talk to the Bills, but anything other than hiring Lynn would be a complete shocker and go against the long-planned transition.
"Don't be fooled by any of the other interviews," one well-placed Bills source said. "It's Anthony Lynn."