Reaction was swift, but the Bills had not yet officially inked their new leader.
There's plenty to discuss now that both sides have completed the agreement. Bills president and CEO Russ Brandon announced the finalization of the deal via Twitter with a nice happy-go-lucky photo op to go with it.
The news conference followed shortly thereafter, but the stage was set even before the announcement was made official.
Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) January 7, 2013
Here are just a few takeaways from the news conference.
It's a term we've heard a lot around One Bills Drive of late, with Russ Brandon vaguely referencing the tactic of analytics in building the Bills into a contender.
Analytics are much more prevalent in baseball, where stats reign supreme even more than football. According to Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, Brandon was the executive director of business development for the Florida Marlins prior to joining the Bills in 1997.
Brandon learned about analytics from GM Dave Dombrowsky, who now works with the Detroit Tigers as president/CEO/GM. Brandon indicated at his press conference last week that analytics would be integrated heavily into the Bills' planning.
We are going to create and establish a very robust football analytics operation that we layer into our entire operation moving forward. That's something that's very important to me and the future of the franchise.
Marrone indicated that they used "quite a bit" of analytics while he was the offensive coordinator in New Orleans.
We want to be innovative. We want to use [analytics] to be on the cutting edge and push us forward. So again, it's part of what we do, it's part of our planning, it's part of our process.
To what level analytics are used, and to what end, remains to be seen, but it is most likely to affect things such as personnel moves and finding roles for players.
Now Hiring: Experienced Defensive Coordinator, Other Coaching Positions Available
Marrone stated in his press conference that he takes offense when people tell him he's an "offensive coach," but he is also not afraid to admit he would like some help, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.
What I'm not going to do is put a parameter around exactly what I'm looking for from a certain position. Obviously with the coordinators, we're going to want people that have thorough NFL experience, especially on the defensive side of the ball. ...I think (with) our coordinators, we want to make sure that they fit in this league. This is a very, very difficult job, being an NFL coach.
The Bills were said to be interested in former Bears head coach Lovie Smith before inking Marrone, but with Smith still looking for work and with the Bills so adamantly in search of an experienced defensive coordinator, perhaps this could still be a fit for both sides.
Also, don't forget that the Bills already interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, and while he might still follow former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt wherever he may go, Horton remains a possibility.
The new Bills head coach also indicated he will not be calling the plays for the Bills offense, so the need for an NFL-experienced offensive coordinator is not mitigated through Marrone.
Embracing the Community, Changing the Culture
Bills fans have gotten used to hearing people talk about how boring the city is. They even heard it from Tom Brady, who made no bones about his feelings for the city. The Bills are generally considered one of a few "black sheep" in terms of drawing head coach and free agent prospects, because it is located so far from the "action" of New York.
As it turned out, the community of Buffalo was actually one of the draws to the job for Marrone.
I can't tell you how excited I am for my family and I to move up here. I'm looking forward to it. ...I'm not going to stand up here and say, 'I lived in this town, I know this town,' but I feel this town and the core values here, again, are one of the things that I look for. I love the people here. We're going to be proud of this organization. ...I think, at the end of the day to be successful, you have to be at the place where you're most comfortable, and I'm most comfortable in Western New York.
All that being said, he knows all is not happy-go-lucky in Buffalo right now. The Bills have a big task ahead of them in bringing the franchise back to its glory days, and Marrone was seen as the culture-changing coach for the job. Syracuse went 10-37 (.213) in the four years prior to his arrival while failing to make a bowl appearance since 2004. Under Marrone, they went 25-25 and won the Pinstripe Bowl in 2010 and 2012.
Mediocrity may not be all that exciting, but it would be a huge upgrade over the past 13 years, in which the Bills went 82-126 (.394). The Bills' 13-year streak without a playoff game is the longest active streak in the NFL.
I do understand the responsibility that I have—not just for the players and the organization, but this region—so for me, I'm excited to get back to work. As soon as we're done here, we're going right to work, but again, it's a lot of responsibility. I feel I'm the best person for this job.
We'll find out one way or another, but if his ability to turn around a struggling Syracuse team is any indication, coupled with his NFL experience, perhaps he really is the best person for the job.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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