In their search for a new head coach, Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon has been interviewing potential candidates in the Phoenix area. It turns out the replacement for Chan Gailey was right in their backyard as ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Bills have reached an agreement with Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone to become their next head coach.
Marrone has spent the last four seasons at Syracuse. Prior to Marrone's arrival, the Orange were 10-37 the previous four seasons. Under Marrone, the Orange were 25-25, including an 8-5 record during a 2012 season that concluded with a win in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Though most of his coaching experience has been at the college level, Marrone coached the New York Jets offensive line from 2002-05 and was the offensive coordinator under Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints from 2006-08. The Saints offense ranked first (2006), fourth (2007) and first (2008) in total offense during Marrone's time in New Orleans and had the league's No. 1 scoring offense in 2008.
It's also possible that Marrone's hiring will affect the Bills' draft plans at the team's most important position. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse's quarterback, is NFLDraftScout.com's fourth-rated player signal-caller in the 2013 draft class. With many questions about the future of Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 6-foot-2, 228-pound Nassib could be an additional factor in that decision. As a junior in 2011, Nassib threw for 2,685 yards, a 62.4 completion percentage, and 22 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. In 2012, he kept the exact same completion percentage while throwing for 3,749 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 picks.
Brandon led the search for Gailey's replacement, interviewing former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton early last week. The Bills also interviewed Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and were scheduled to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Saturday.