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FoxSports.com: New Coaches Already on the Hot Seat

7. Doug Marrone/Buffalo

Predecessor: Chan Gailey

Others interviewed: After what newly promoted team president Russ Brandon called a “thorough, exhaustive and exhilarating search,” the Bills tapped a nearby college coach from Syracuse instead of Horton or Whisenhunt. Buffalo also spoke with Chip Kelly. However, the odds of a decaying franchise like this luring Kelly away from Oregon were as low as the Bills turning down loonies and toonies to play a home game each season in the sterile atmosphere Toronto provides. The Bills may have pulled the trigger on Marrone early because they feared losing him elsewhere.

Why Marrone?: Brandon, who was given power to run the club by ailing owner Ralph Wilson following Gailey’s postseason firing, is a Syracuse native who remains connected to the university through its “sports advisory board.” This helps explains his interest in Marrone, who helped the Orange get back on their feet to respectability over the past four seasons. Marrone previously served as New Orleans’ offensive line coach under Sean Payton.

Biggest philosophical change: Marrone is banking on 33-year-old offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, whose only previous NFL experience came as a lowly quality control coach with the Bills and Tampa Bay. He is the son of long-time NFL offensive coordinator Paul Hackett and was Marrone’s offensive coordinator at Syracuse. Hackett’s methodology will differ greatly from that of Chan Gailey, whose uneven game-planning and underuse of running back C.J. Spiller helped lead to his demise after three seasons as Buffalo’s head coach. Ex-Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will bring more creativity to the position than predecessor Dave Wannstedt.

Most pressing task: Determining whether to go forward with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for at least the short term (i.e. entering the preseason) is where Marrone must start. After that, Marrone must change the losing culture throughout an organization that hasn’t reached the playoffs in an NFL-high 13 seasons. Getting more out of overpaid defensive end Mario Williams is a must.

Outlook: With Brandon and general manager Buddy Nix staying onboard despite another season of failure, it’s hard from the outside to see what exactly has changed in Buffalo that offers reason for excitement. Bills fans deserve better.

(AP Photo)

Courtesy of FOXSports.com



The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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