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Will Doug Marrone and His New Coordinators Turn the Bills Around?

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Doug Marrone of the Syracuse Orange works on the sidelines against the West Virginia Mountaineers  in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 29, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Andy LipariCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2013

The choice of Doug Marrone as the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills came with mixed results. It sounded like more Bills fans were pleased with the hire than those opposed to it. But the argument that hiring Marrone was “a typical Bills hire,” just isn’t true. I feel like the Bills could have hired Vince Lombardi and a portion of Bills fans would have complained.

If the Bills had done what they’ve always done, they would’ve hired Ken Whisenhunt, a coach that got fired from his last NFL head-coaching job because his team wasn’t good enough. A coach no other team wanted but was willing to talk to the Bills about their opening.

Hiring a candidate that was talking to other teams and isn’t considered a “safe” hire isn’t the typical Bills way. With Russ Brandon in full control of the team now, we’ve already seen a more efficient organization that makes quick, decisive decisions. They even started Marrone’s press conference on time.

With that said, hiring Marrone may not be a typical Bills move, but will he turn out to be a typical Bills coach?

In his introductory press conference, Marrone said he wanted coordinators with NFL experience. His words meant something for about 36 hours before he hired Syracuse offensive coordinator, Nate Hackett.

Hackett was only the offensive coordinator for two seasons at Syracuse and he’s being thrown into this role now? Marrone showed in his first hire he will lie to the media and that he’s not afraid to use the buddy system to fill out his staff.

I’m not sure how to take the hire of Mike Pettine as the defensive coordinator, if the report from ESPN is true. Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the Jets the last four years and called the plays on game day the last two seasons. Sure, Rex Ryan was the mastermind of the Jets defense, but Pettine had to learn something in his time in New York.

Furthermore, his defense’s numbers could be a little better if the Jets’ offense wasn’t so pathetic. It’s not the defense’s fault if the opposing offense is given a short field to work with. The Jets were minus-14 in turnover ratio in 2012, and most of that comes from the quarterback play in New York. They made me thankful to have Ryan Fitzpatrick over that mess.

However, Pettine does come from a team that ran a 3-4 scheme. As we saw with George Edwards, the Bills aren’t made to be a 3-4 team. They built a defense for two offseasons to run a 3-4 and they still ended 2011 with a 4-3.

One of the reasons Mario Williams left Houston was because he didn’t fit in the 3-4 Wade Phillips was running. Williams’ skills aren’t made for him to be a 3-4 lineman, and I sure don’t want to see him in coverage as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Although, maybe the best way to defend  the new style of NFL offenses is with a hybrid defense. The days of labeling a defense as a 3-4 or a 4-3 might be coming to an end.

The big question for Marrone is at quarterback. Already the speculation is starting about whether or not Marrone will want his quarterback from Syracuse, Ryan Nassib. He has the size and arm strength for the NFL and he has a future in this league. I’m not sure I want him starting for the Bills this September though.  

The problem with this hire is Buffalo wants instant results. Most of the moves Marrone will make won’t matter unless they turn into wins in the 2013 season. 

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