Buffalo Bills Hire Syracuse Coach Doug Marrone; What Happens Next?

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor IIIJanuary 6, 2013

Doug Marrone led Syracuse to a win at the Pinstripe Bowl
Doug Marrone led Syracuse to a win at the Pinstripe BowlRich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Buffalo Bills have agreed to hire Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone to become the next head coach of the team.

Schefter wrote the following:

Doug Marrone has agreed to leave Syracuse and become the coach of the Buffalo Bills, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Sunday morning.

Marrone replaces Chan Gailey, who was fired after going 16-32 over three seasons. Marrone has yet to sign a deal.

The Bills also interviewed Oregon's Chip Kelly on Friday and former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith on Saturday.

Marrone has been credited for turning around the Orange in four seasons. Syracuse rolled to an 8-5 finish by winning six of its last seven games this season, including a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

In addition to the meetings with Chip Kelly and Lovie Smith, the Bills were also known to have met with Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Bears coach Smith had been telling people he was interested in the Bills job. The Bills also were interested in Whisenhunt, but Marrone rose to the top of the Bills' wish list after his interview.

What is interesting is that the Cleveland Browns were very interested in Marrone as well. In fact, Ian Rappaport of NFL.com tweeted yesterday that it looked like either Oregon coach Chip Kelly or Marrone would emerge as the next Browns head coach. But since the Eagles look like they are nearing a deal with Kelly, and the Bills have hired Marrone, the Browns are left out in the cold.

The hiring of Marrone is just the second head coach hired out of the seven vacancies created on Black Monday. The first occurred earlier this week when the Kansas City Chiefs hired Andy Reid

Buffalo Bills new CEO Russ Brandon had promised Bills fans that they would do an exhaustive search and would make sure that they hired the right person for the job. Brandon, Buddy Nix and Doug Whaley must have come away from the various interviews feeling that Marrone was that right guy.

Marrone was an offensive lineman by trade. He had a cup of coffee with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints in his brief NFL career. He then went on to coach in college at Georgia Tech and Georgia, where he focused on tight ends and the offensive line. For what it's worth, Marrone never was part of Chan Gailey's staff at Georgia Tech, as the two worked there at different times.

From college, Marrone matriculated to the NFL. He started with the Tennessee Titans as tight ends coach in 2001. He then coached the New York Jets offensive line from 2002-2005, after which he became the offensive coordinator to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints from 2006-2008. He then left the Saints to turn around the Syracuse University program, which had been struggling, from 2009-2012.

Now, he gets to turn around another struggling team in the Buffalo Bills, who have not been to the NFL playoffs in the last 13 years, the longest such streak in the NFL.

Marrone now will be getting to work on putting together a coaching staff. The entire Bills coaching staff had been relieved of their duties, so we will see if Marrone has any interest in bringing some of them back.

Then, Marrone will need to pour over tape of the 2012 regular season with Nix and Whaley to determine where the team is headed with regards to potential changes, what players to bring back and what scheme changes are needed for offense and defense.

Marrone led Syracuse to two different 8-5 seasons. The Orangemen won the Pinstripe Bowl over West Virginia and its talented quarterback Geno Smith. Syracuse had its own talented quarterback in Ryan Nassib, so it will be interesting to see if any of Marrone's players wind up getting drafted by the Bills.

Now that the head coach search is over, the Bills can focus on improving their own team in free agency and at the 2013 NFL draft. Bills fans have to hope that Marrone will be successful in turning around his second straight team.