Report: Russ Brandon “fond” of Ken Whisenhunt

Reuters

The reorganization of the Bills front office left Russ Brandon calling the shots in the team’s search for a new coach.

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reports that Brandon is “fond” of Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired as the Cardinals’ coach a short time after the Bills relieved Chan Gailey of his duties on Monday. Per Graham, Brandon “would like the opportunity to land” Whisenhunt as the team’s next head coach. Whisenhunt also worked with General Manager in waiting Doug Whaley when he was a Steelers assistant from 2001-2006 and Whaley was Pittsburgh’s pro scouting coordinator.

Whisenhunt would give the Bills a second straight coach with an offensive background, something that would make the hiring of a defensive coordinator crucial in Buffalo. The Bills spent big to bring defensive ends Mark Anderson and Mario Williams to town and they used first-round picks on defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and cornerback Stephon Gilmore in the last two years without seeing the desired improvement on that side of the ball.

If Whisenhunt does throw his hat into the ring, he could be going up against his former defensive coordinator for the job in Buffalo. The Bills are reportedly one of the teams who have requested permission to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who was not let go in Arizona when Whisenhunt and the offensive coaching staff were fired.

Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone and former Bears coach Lovie Smith have also popped up on the radar for the Bills job in the 24 hours or so since Gailey was sent packing.

UPDATE 12:18 p.m. ET: Howard Simon of WGR reports that members of the Bills will fly to Arizona as soon as Wednesday to interview Whisenhunt and Horton. Former Cardinals offensive line coach Russ Grimm could also be on the interview list.