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Bills Tab Syracuse's Marrone As Their Next Head Coach
According to multiple reports, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone agreed to terms Sunday morning to become the Buffalo Bills coach. Marrone will replace Chan Gailey, who was fired last Monday, a day after the Bills closed their second consecutive season with a 6-10 record.

According to's Ian Rapoport, the move directly speaks to the organization's offensive issues.

Marrone's most significant NFL experience was three years as the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator from 2006-08. He was the first offensive coordinator hired by Sean Payton when he and Drew Brees went to New Orleans. The Saints made the playoffs in 2006 for the first time since 2000. They posted the No. 1 total offense twice and a Top 5 scoring offense twice in those three years.

Marrone also coached the New York Jets offensive line from 2002-05 and went 25-25 in four years at Syracuse.

"I think that's a great hire," NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said. "He brings that pedigree that's kind of popular now, a substantial pro background with that mix of college."

As's Kareem Copeland notes, the Bills have been a mess offensively, as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown flashes but been wildly inconsistent. The Bills have been a Top 20 scoring offense just once since 2004. Addressing the quarterback situation and better utilizing C.J. Spiller will be the first two tasks for Marrone.

On the field, Marrone ran the Saints offense, more or less, in Syracuse. It's a pro-style attack that has its roots in the West Coast offense. It relies on the quarterback getting the ball out of his hands quickly and hitting receivers in stride. It uses tight ends and a fullback effectively in situational roles.

In New Orleans, Marrone worked with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Drew Brees.

At Syracuse, he developed Ryan Nassib into a winner. Nassib will enter the NFL draft in April and could be a prime target of Marrone and the Bills.

Syracuse was 26-57 over a seven-year period before Marrone took over at his alma mater. The Orange finished this season 8-5, winning six of their last seven games, including a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Now, he's set for another challenge.

And who will he bring on board to help him meet it?

As Buffalo News beat writer Tim Graham notes, we don't yet know what Marrone's plans would be for his first NFL staff, but coaches coming from the college ranks usually will bring along some of their assistants from campus.

According to Graham, Gailey hired too many college assistants with little NFL experience. Marrone seems to have worked with a higher pedigree of coach.

In reviewing Marrone's assistants at Syracuse, Graham points out that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is the son of former NFL head coach Paul Hackett and was the Bills' offensive quality control assistant in 2008 and 2009 under Dick Jauron.

Marrone also had former NFL players on staff: Tyrone Wheatley (1,000-yard rusher) coached running backs; Rob Moore (two-time Pro Bowler) coached wide receivers; Steve Morrison coached linebackers.

Defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson was an NFL assistant for 10 years and a former New York Jets defensive coordinator under Herm Edwards. Marrone also was on that staff. Henderson won a Super Bowl ring as Baltimore Ravens defensive backs assistant and coached the Arizona Cardinals' secondary in 2010.

Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer has been a coordinator at Michigan and Stanford, where he also was assistant head coach in 2007.

Video coordinator Steve Scarnecchia is the son of venerable New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

It'll be interesting to see if and how many of those make the move to Buffalo with Marrone. ...

For the record, Buffalo's decision to go with Marrone came on a day they were scheduled to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

The Bills opened their coaching search Tuesday, when newly promoted President Russ Brandon and several executives traveled to Arizona, where they interviewed candidates. They met with former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

The Bills also interviewed Oregon coach Chip Kelly and former Bears coach Lovie Smith.

On Friday, the Bills confirmed they had interviewed Marrone, but they did not reveal when or where that meeting took place.

Marrone had also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns for their vacancy.

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