Oct 26, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone looks on prior to the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
I think that former Buffalo Bills head coach and New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone is going to be coming to Chicago for an interview with the Bears. After re-watching through the Ryan Pace introductory press conference, a few things became clear to me. First and foremost, Pace will lean on his experience from New Orleans, and second, he wants someone with whom he has a strong connection to ride shotgun on this journey to bring the Bears back to prominence.
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You don’t have to dig too deeply to connect Pace and Marrone. Marrone was part of Sean Payton’s first staff in New Orleans as the offensive coordinator from 2006 – 2008. He actually had to get out of his previous gig as the Jets offensive line coach in order to get the promotion to join Payton. The Saints enjoyed a ride to the NFC Championship Game (which they lost to the Bears!) in ’06 as Payton, Marrone and Drew Brees all came together for the first time for a 10-6 season.
Marrone bolted the Saints to return to his alma mater Syracuse to become their head coach in 2009, a position he held for four seasons before being called up to the “bigs” to become the Bills head coach. Marrone helped turn the Bills from a 6-10 team to a surprising 9-7 team that we all know beat the Bears in the season opener in 2014. When you consider what Marrone was able to do this season with Kyle Orton at quarterback, it’s an impressive feat.
Marrone employed an out clause in his contract at the end of the 2014 season triggered by the Bills ownership change that pays him his full 2015 salary. He’s been linked to the Jets job and given his ties to the Jets as a former coach and a Bronx native, along with his knowledge of the AFC East, it would seem to be a good fit. It will be interesting to see whether the possibility to reuniting with Pace brings Pace to Chicago.
What do you think about the possibility of Marrone? Besides the connection to Pace, I’m not necessarily a big fan, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Pace leaned on his past experience to bring in a known commodity to help build his staff.