Fewell finished the season as the Bills' interim coach, but he was relieved of his duties, along with the rest of the coaching staff, one day after Buffalo (6-10) closed its season with a 30-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Fewell, though, is a candidate for the head-coaching job and had a four-hour interview with Bills general manager Buddy Nix on Monday.
Fewell broke into the NFL in 1998 as a defensive secondary coach in Jacksonville under Coughlin. He also worked two seasons with Smith in both St. Louis and Chicago.
After his interview with the Bills, Fewell said he came away "optimistic," but he still considers himself a long shot for the job.
Nix has said he prefers hiring an experienced coach. The team is focusing its attention on former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who is currently working as an NFL broadcaster.
Fewell called Nix "a standup guy" and was left impressed by how extensive the interview was.
In completing his 12th NFL season, Fewell had no previous head-coaching experience before going 3-4 after Dick Jauron was fired in November. Fewell did become the first of Buffalo's five interim coaches to win more than two games in the season he took over, surpassing the win totals of Hank Bullough (2-10 in 1985) and Marv Levy (2-5, 1986).
In four seasons as the Bills' defensive coordinator, Fewell was credited for getting the most out of a unit that was perennially young and plagued by injuries.
Buffalo finished 19th in the NFL in yards allowed this past season with a defense that ended the year with five starters on injured reserve. It was a banged-up group that included linebacker Kawika Mitchell, cornerback Terrence McGee and rookie safety Jairus Byrd, a second-round draft pick who finished with an NFL-high-tying nine interceptions.
The Bills were porous against the run, giving up 150 or more rushing yards 10 times. Their pass defense was solid. Buffalo had 28 interceptions to finish second behind Green Bay and also was second in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press