Buffalo interested in Schottenheimer

Brian Schottenheimer (Getty Images)

After plenty of rumors, it's official. The Bills are interested in New York offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, according to multiple reports. Though the Jets are in the midst of a playoff run, the interview could take place soon.

Rex Ryan knows he's bound to lose Brian Schottenheimer, his wunderkind offensive coordinator. It's inevitable. The New York Jets' brash head coach can't shelter Schottenheimer forever.

He's young. He's creative. He has great pedigree. He leads the No. 1-ranked rushing attack in the NFL. And now he is interviewing for the Buffalo Bills coaching vacancy. Sorry, Rex.

Per league rules, the Jets cannot deny permission but they can decide when and where the interview occurs. There's a high possibility the interview is conducted in New Jersey on Thursday or Friday. The Jets will be heavily game-planning for the San Diego Chargers Tuesday and Wednesday.

Schottenheimer recently said he was content with the Jets, but is always all ears. The Bills have already conducted interviews with interim head coach Perry Fewell and Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Schottenheimer appears to be the first offensive-minded coach the team will meet with.

Considering Buffalo finished 30th in the NFL, that's a good sign. The Bills were handicapped all year by the unit's inability to stretch the field. Despite a bevy of weapons, Buffalo had merely 233 first downs all season — last in the NFL. A big reason for that was the team's injury-ravaged offensive line, though offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt also struggled along his on-the-job training.

Schottenheimer makes a lot of sense in Buffalo. Ties abound. The Bills' new G.M. Buddy Nix worked closely with Schottenheimer's father, Marty, in San Diego. When a power struggle fractured the Chargers in 2006, Nix sided with Schottenheimer. Marty has brushed off a possible return to the NFL, but his son is widely considered one of the brightest offensive minds in the game. In the past he has interviewed for head-coaching jobs in Baltimore, Miami and the Jets.

The 36-year-old Schottenheimer has done his best work this season, his fourth as the Jets' offensive coordinator.

Schottenheimer broke in a rookie quarterback, while simultaneously leading the NFL's top-ranked rushing game. The Jets' 24-14 win in Cincinnati on Saturday was his season in a nutshell. Against the Bengals' fourth-ranked defense, the Jets rolled to 353 total yards. Schottenheimer rode his hot hand — backup Shonn Greene — and mixed in a healthy array of play-action passes. The rookie Greene chewed up the Bengals' ‘D' for 135 yards on 21 carries with a score, while fellow rookie Mark Sanchez was 12-of-15 for 182 yards and a touchdown.

That's been the Jets' recipe for success all season, a conservative yet creative running game. Cincinnati was often caught out of position against the run and the pass — a credit to Schottenheimer's play-calling ability.

Soon, the Bills will have company in their search for a head coach. Oakland's Tom Cable is expected to be fired any day. Not that the Raiders will much competition. NFL.com's Steve Wyche cites Green Bay Packers assistant head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss to be the top candidate in Oakland. If the Bills covet Schottenheimer, and the interest is mutual, they should be in the clear.

Last year, after the Jets fired Eric Mangini, Schotteneimer interviewed for the job and finished second behind Ryan. Last week, Ryan said he was afraid he'd lose Schottenheimer. In response, Schottenheimer said he was "very, very happy with the Jets," but would listen to offers.

--- Click here to see why Schottenheimer would be a perfect fit in Buffalo.

---And here for an insider's take on Schottenheimer.

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