The Buffalo Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan after a year in which the Bills blew every chance they had at the playoffs. First year head coach Adam Gase took the Dolphins to the playoffs and Buffalo is hoping to find someone who can do the same thing. Earlier in the week we took a look at five of the best candidates for the position. In this article, we'll look at five darkhorse candidates who might land the Bills head coaching job.

1. Doug Marrone.

It sounds insane, but the Bills could actually bring back the man who left Buffalo after a 9-7 record. Marrone energized the Jaguars in week 16 and helped them earn an impressive victory over the Titans.

Marrone wasn't fired from Buffalo, but he drew the ire of fans and the media after leaving a gaping hole at head coach. Now that Doug Marrone has passed his audition, the Bills could easily be considering him for a head coach position once again.

2. Josh McDaniels.

A Bill Belichick disciple, McDaniels has become one of the more sought after coordinators in the league. If the Bills turn to him as head coach, he will likely bring more passing into an offense that focuses primarily on the run currently. However, the Bills should exercise caution here. Precisely zero of prior Bill Belichick students have a head coaching job in the NFL and the Bills don't want to be in the same position this season.

3. Sean Payton.

The Saints head coach is under contract until 2020, but the organization has indicated they are willing to part with him in a trade. Payton won a Super Bowl with Drew Brees and has presided over one of the best offenses in the NFL for the majority of his tenure. Unfortunately, the defense of the Saints has been terrible over the same time period and hasn't been any better.

Payton would likely need a great defensive coordinator to be successful in Buffalo.

4. Jim Schwartz.

The former Bills defensive coordinator had the unit playing at a very high level prior to Rex Ryan's arrival in Buffalo. The defense had the most sacks in the league and almost managed to lead the Bills to the playoffs in spite of Kyle Orton's poor play at quarterback.

Now the Bills could look to bring back another former coach to reenergize a defense that has been far worse this year.

5. Todd Haley.

The Steelers offensive coordinator has presided over one of the better offenses in the NFL this year, but he also has the luxury of working with Ben Roethlisberger, Le'veon Bell, and Antonio Brown. Haley went 19-26 in his time as a head coach, but the Bills are in a position to take advantage of a talented roster. Haley would likely open up the playbook and bring more downfield passes to the table. Unfortunately, the Bills will still need a good defensive mind to pair with Haley. Without one, Haley is worthless as a head coach.

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