Joe Banner: 'I wouldn't waste time risking losing him. I would hire him'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday December 29, 2016


The Buffalo Bills are looking for a new head coach, but do they already have him?

Anthony Lynn was promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator early in the season, and now he’s interim head coach. He’s very much liked in the organization, and The Buffalo News reports all signs point to Lynn getting the job right now. Former NFL executive Joe Banner says the Bills should move quickly.

“Not only do I think it’s the right answer, I wouldn’t waste any time risking losing him. I would hire him,” Banner said on Mike & Mike. “The NFL, very competitive, everybody’s Type A, it’s very hard to find a person everybody you ask about has great things to say about. My coaching search is focused on things like leadership, hiring and managing staff. It’s not about running the best offense and defense to lead the stats the last five years.

If you ask people about those qualities, Anthony Lynn’s name has been coming up for a while, and everybody has strong and positive things to say. Unless I got an interview and he really surprised me with some things I didn’t anticipate, I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of time. I would hire him.”

Banner was the Eagles president from 1995-2012 and has also worked with the Browns and Falcons. There are currently three open NFL head coaching jobs, along with the Jaguars and Rams. The Bills job certainly isn’t the most desirable, and Banner says that also should play a factor.

“This is not going to be the most desirable job in the league. There will be some questions about (GM Doug Whaley)," Banner said. "There will be some questions about the quarterback situation, and Buffalo is not the largest market, the things that attract coaches.

“If you have a guy sitting there you know has these strengths, which are hard to find — there’s only a half-dozen coaches in the NFL with great leadership skills, hiring and managing coaches — if you have a guy sitting there, in this situation, I’m making a move and doing it quickly.”

Since Lynn took over on an interim role, things have already been a little bumpy. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been benched in favor of E.J. Manuel, but Lynn admitted that wasn’t his decision, calling it a business decision. That’s likely in part because if Taylor suffers an injury and can’t complete an offseason physical, he would be guaranteed $30 million.

But with Whaley leading the search, it doesn’t appear Buffalo would hand over personnel control to the next coach.

By dismissing Ryan this week, it gives Lynn one game under his belt as a head coach to show a little of what he’s got.

“In my mind, there are only two reasons to fire a coach before the end of the season,” Banner said. “One is the building is splintering apart. The other is if you know who the coach is going to be, let’s move on. I don’t know that that’s the case, but it could be.” 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.