As team officials approach the completion of the interview process, Dom Capers, who has served as head coach for two expansion franchises, will meet with the Buffalo Bills on Friday about the club's vacancy, ESPN.com has learned.
Recently dismissed as the Houston Texans' head coach, Capers posted an 18-46 record in four seasons (2002-2005), including a league-worst 2-14 mark this year. He was 31-35 in four seasons (1995-98) with the Carolina Panthers. Capers was the first head coach in the history of both former expansion teams.
In only the second season of the franchise's existence, Capers led the Panthers to the NFC Championship Game in 1996. He was unable to register the same kind of results, though, in Houston, where the Texans never won more than seven games under his stewardship, and regressed badly in 2005.
Capers, 55, will be the third former NFL head coach to huddle with Bills officials about the opening created when Mike Mularkey abruptly resigned last week after only two seasons on the job. Earlier this week, the Bills met with former Chicago Bears coach Dick Jauron and onetime Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman.
Jauron, who served as the interim head coach of the Detroit Lions this season, has been pegged by several media outlets as the favorite to land a Bills job for which he was also a candidate two years ago. But a source close to the Bills' search said that Sherman, who took the Packers to four playoff appearances in six seasons, had a Wednesday interview in which he "knocked the socks off" Buffalo officials.
In addition to Jauron and Sherman, the Bills have interviewed incumbent special teams coach Bobby April and San Diego wide receivers coach James Lofton. April is popular among current Buffalo players and was named the NFL's special teams coach of the year for 2004. A Hall of Fame wide receiver, Lofton played four of his 16 NFL seasons (1989-92), with the Bills, under now-general manager Marv Levy.
Neither April nor Lofton has any previous experience as a head coach at any level.
It appears that former New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett, who once played linebacker for the Bills and also served on the Buffalo coaching staff, will not be a candidate for the job. In the wake of Mularkey's resignation, Haslett was often cited as the front-runner for the vacancy. The Bills, though, have not arranged to meet with Haslett.
Longtime league defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who once worked on the Buffalo staff and who was also mentioned last week as a potential candidate, looks like he is out of the running as well. After a phone call from Levy last week, indicating that he might be a candidate, Cottrell has had no further contact with Buffalo management.
Indications are that, after the Capers interview, the Bills will deliberate over the men with whom they have met, and perhaps reach a decision by the weekend. Buffalo is one of just three teams remaining without a head coach. One of those franchises, Houston, is set to hire Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak once the Broncos' season has concluded. The only other team without a coach is the Oakland Raiders.
With so many head coach positions filled this week, and intense competition to complete staffs, the Bills might work quickly in hiring Mularkey's successor.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.