Keeping up with the successes and failures of former Bills players is a rite of fall in these parts, especially if those players now play for the Patriots (Stephon Gilmore, coincidentally, was booed Sunday in his return to Buffalo).
But another group worth keeping an eye on is former Bills coaches. There are three of them in the league who are head coaches elsewhere, and after 13 weeks of play, all three are tied for first place in their division.
The AFC South looks like a battle between two former Bills coaches, Doug Marrone and Mike Mularkey. Marrone's Jaguars are 8-4 with a plus-121 point differential, which is fourth-best in the league and only four points behind the Patriots. Mularkey's 8-4 Titans have a negative point differential but beat the Jags head-to-head, so they currently have the tiebreaker in the division.
In the AFC West, Anthony Lynn's resurgent Chargers are now in a three-way tie for first place at 6-6. They started 0-4 before finding their groove and have outscored opponents 101-40 over their current three-game winning streak, which began against the Bills.
— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) December 4, 2017
What's interesting to note is that the Bills didn't really choose to "fire" any of the three head coaches.
Marrone and Mularkey both essentially quit on the team after two seasons, though under different circumstances. Mularkey resigned after the 2005 season, and while he has never publicly discussed why, considerable changes to the Bills' front office – including replacing GM Tom Donahoe with Marv Levy – were thought to be significant factors. Marrone exercised a $4 million opt-out clause after the 2014 season, which was included in his contract in case the team was sold and relocated.
Lynn was technically only an interim head coach with the Bills, but he counts in official stats. He took over for one game after Rex Ryan was fired at the end of the 2016 season. Ryan's staff was not expected to be retained, though Lynn did interview for the head-coaching job that eventually went to Sean McDermott.