Last night, I was at a New Year's Eve party with a bunch of my old college buddies when news started trickling in that Doug Marrone had opted out of his contract. It was then followed up with multiple reports that the New York Jets were highly interested in Marrone. Assuming for a moment that the reports are accurate, and not something drummed up by a media pool that largely went to the journalism school at Syracuse University, I was very disturbed by this turn of events. Unfortunately, it marred an otherwise enjoyable evening. If the reports are true and the team does in fact hire Marrone, it will mar what is a unique opportunity for this franchise to finally turn things around.
Marrone is the guy you go to when you want to build your program into mediocrity. As the head coach of Syracuse, Marrone turned the program around into a 25-25 record... precisely .500. For the Buffalo Bills, Marrone has had a 15-17 record in two years. Three of those wins were against the catastrophic Jets, and one of which came in the last week when the New England Patriots benched their starters. Sure, he deserves credit for helping the bottom-dwelling Bills into not an embarrassment, which I suppose is an accomplishment, but it's not like he's also had any real success there either.
I'm flummoxed as to how the national media is framing this story like the Bills just let Vince Lombardi get away.— Jay Skurski (@JaySkurski) January 1, 2015
He is, additionally, famously thin-skinned when it comes to the media. Most teams have 3-4 beat reporters. The Jets have approximately twelve, and their fans notably flew banners and put up billboards when they were dissatisfied with the job their general manager was doing. Marrone has called out individual reports whose articles he didn't like:
But as I noted last night, I believe it 100%. For all the tough guy act he put on, Marrone was incredibly thin-skinned to criticism.— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) January 1, 2015
Finally, as John B. pointed out, Marrone is an offensive coach whose offenses aren't very good. He runs a particularly conservative offense, and despite having two good wide receivers in Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, along with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, often struggled. His hand-picked quarterback was benched barely into his second season for good. He was propped up by arguably the best defense in the league, and still missed out on the playoffs. What has Marrone ever done that we should be hopeful about? Why can we now expect him to turn things around on a team with both a worse offense and defense?
The Jets have Marrone's interview scheduled for after they get back from Seattle. Hopefully they'll find their head coach there and not choose Marrone. Now is the time when we can find someone that will transform the organization into the twenty-first century. Marrone would not be a step back; he'd be standing in place.