A somewhat struggling second-year coach decided not to come back after bungling a young quarterback’s development in favor of playing a veteran who wasn’t good enough. The Buffalo Bills didn’t need the Mike Mularkey Story told again. Replace EJ Manuel and Kyle Orton’s names with those of J.P. Losman and Kelly Holcomb, respectively, and fans can see why progress has been a challenge. Doug Marrone’s 2014 resolution was to quit a sweet job he probably didn’t deserve, and he got in just under the wire.
Good luck to the schlub who dumps Kate Upton thinking he’ll find someone hotter. Marrone was kind enough to make the decision for a team pondering if he was underwhelming enough to fire. Noting the Bills improved in his second season requires acknowledging his poor showing in 2013. It’s one thing to improve on a predecessor’s record. But, considering how good this team should be with this much talent, him fleeing is a relief.
Someone that tough to deal with should be better than mediocre. Marrone can hop the fence into East Germany and coach the Jets if he’d like. If he thought people were mean to him in Erie County, he’ll love the famously easygoing New York City media. That said, he may not get the chance to realize how relatively nice Buffalonians are if his interview went as poorly as reported.
Marrone should go back to school. It’s not a knock on him, but he’s better suited to coach a college team. Personally, I’m a Syracuse fan who admired him for getting the program back to mediocrity. The Orange had just endured their worst four-year stretch in program history, as previous coach Greg Robinson should be arrested for stealing from a higher learning institution. Marrone brought order to a chaotic program, as seen when he kicked off players for disciplinary issues. While his teams desperately needed talent, Marrone thought the right kind of teammates were more important.
Heading back to campus is the wise move he probably won’t make. Like the undergrad who claims he’s taking a class again because he found the class interesting, Marrone thinks he has excuses for his grades. The rudderless Bills thought he might bring the same sense of direction. But the authoritarian attitude that worked with student-athletes hasn’t been as effective while dealing with those who play sports as a career. A coach who needs to be in charge of everything should be working for a university, not a pro team.
A self-styled autocrat should at least be able instill discipline. Instead, Bills fans spent the year bracing for flags. His infamous fourth-down timidness may define his tenure. A coach who seemed bold at a school turned meek as a pro.
It’s also glaring who didn’t play. I hope Kraig Urbik learned his lesson while he mysteriously idled, namely that the line is even worse without him. And I wish Mike Williams had returned the coach’s lawnmower so they could’ve been on speaking terms again. Alas, the kind of threat Buffalo needed was rarely used to the point that his release was the only option. Marrone neglected to grow up and do his part to move past their differences. The sort of pushiness that helped develop a college program merely created alienation in the NFL.
Being near the playoffs after 14 games was close to fun. But bid good riddance to Marrone if he’s going to act like a princess. He doesn’t have a good enough track record to fret over losing him.
To be fair, he was a great coach; just ask him. The platitude master and Sammy Watkins foe can hang an image of a Lombardi Trophy before he wins one somewhere else. After wondering why he couldn’t get the extension he thought he deserved, Marrone can solve the mystery of why he never made the Pro Bowl.
By not letting the coach dictate terms, the Pegulas are making it clear that this is their team. The second owners get a first chance to install their guy. Anyone who doesn’t want to be part of the tremendous excitement the family has brought to the sports teams and the area where they’re based is free to leave. The owner is this franchise’s savior, not its erstwhile coach.
An ingrate estranging himself from the family before a Disney vacation creates pleasantness by subtraction for remaining happy relatives. Terry and Kim get to put their own stamp on the franchise without even having to fire someone. Imagine if Tom Landry walked away after an unremarkable two seasons and that Jerry Jones wasn’t the most obnoxious human possible, and you get the picture.
It’s not that Marrone’s a bad coach. But being less than atrocious doesn’t lead to success. While the Mafia can sort-of enjoy this past season’s winning record, they may fairly ask why a team with this good of a roster couldn’t get to 10 wins. Maybe the coach needed an All-Universe defensive line that got a sack every other passing play instead of a mere All-Galaxy one.
Praising a coach because he got over .500 in 2014 thanks to an inconsequential win during the finale is a reflection of low expectations, not his abilities. A coach who could fit his accomplishments with the Bills in his goodbye text is free to walk away. He’s still waiting for us to beg him not to leave.