There’s not much doubt anymore. Doug Marrone thought he was ballin’, and ended up fallin’. This is not how he drew it up when he doubled down on his rising stock within the coaching industry. This isn’t where he thought he’d be two weeks after shocking the Bills. He thought he’d be BMOC, waving to the pretty co-eds, and winking at the teachers in his letterman jacket. Nope. Instead, Saint Doug is Ain’t Doug.
The team most assumed coveted Marrone, the Jets, was turned off by his interview. Reports were that he was wildly underwhelming (sounds like a lot of his press conferences). For the Bronx kid and former New York assistant, it seemed like the perfect fit. But Woody Johnson passed over Marrone for a first-time head coach in Todd Bowles. In fact, Marrone probably didn’t even finish second in the race, since the Jets wanted Dan Quinn as well. Yikes, 0-for-2 in Slamdunk-ville for Dougie.
The Raiders hired Jack Del Rio. The Niners promoted Jim Tomsula. The Bears are likely picking up John Fox. That leaves Atlanta and Denver, who both seem to be deciding over Quinn and Adam Gase. Teryl Austin is also rumored to be in the mix. All three have never been head coaches in the NFL. Which means (if you’re scoring at home): there were six potential landing spots for Marrone when he bolted Buffalo, two will be filled by more accomplished coaches than him, four will be by guys less accomplished than him.
Bugs Bunny used to call dopey Elmer Fudd “a maroon.” Maybe we should now call him a Marrone.
I had NFL Network Insider Albert Breer join my show to discuss this Marrone saga. It may be even worse than it looks. “I think it’s pretty clear now that he overplayed his hand. We’ve had 45 coaching changes over the last six years, which is just a staggering number, and that’s really thinned out the candidate list. So when the Jets and the Falcons bring him in, they’re not bringing him in with the idea of, ‘We’re going to hire him.’ They’re bringing him in with the idea, ‘He’s got to come here and win the job.’ It doesn’t look like he’s found a team yet where he can do that.”
In other words, even in a shallow coaching pool – with a record number of turnovers – Marrone still couldn’t land a job. And Doug’s biggest frying pan to the face is that he’s not very accomplished as a coordinator. He has never called plays, even as the OC in New Orleans. “That’s what’s hard about it,” Breer said. “When he was in New Orleans with Sean Payton, Sean Payton (was) the guy who (called) the plays, and you’re not going to get a lot of credit for holding that position under a guy like Sean Payton. We really don’t know how good an offensive coordinator Doug Marrone would be.”
The reality is, probably not very good. Jacksonville may be interviewing him for its OC spot, but Syracuse’s offense was always three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-Orange-dust until a stagnant attack desperately looked to Ryan Nassib’s smarts and poise to move the chains his senior season. The timing couldn’t have been better. Nassib was graduating, and Marrone flew the coop. The Bills offense actually regressed in Year 2, and young quarterback E.J. Manuel was left by the side of I-90 when Marrone gave up on him this September.
Most fans think it’s no big deal, that Marrone is probably tickled pink anyway. He gets his $4M from Buffalo this season whether he’s spending 18 hours a day in a film room breaking down Ryan Tannehill’s hot reads or sipping pina coladas in the Bahamas. But that’s not how coaching lifers view it. The fraternity prides itself on grinding every day, every month, every year. Marrone himself always wore his grunt work on the coaching tree as a badge of honor. He’s just a hog, just an old, grumbling, snorting offensive lineman, taking his lunch pail and going to work. Now he’s suddenly going to watch The Living Dead marathons and feel good about his career?
The fact is, Marrone used to roll up his sleeves, believe in the work he put in, and compliment the efforts of those around him. Then he started hopping from “dream job” to “dream job,” bullying those around him more and more, calling himself “Saint Doug” because he was performing “two miracles” (roll eyes here) and figured he was a hotter commodity than Kevin Hart. The karma boomerang stings when it comes back around.
Marrone took a gamble, up and left a staff in the lurch, and an organization which had given him his first NFL head coaching opportunity after just 24 months. The gamble failed miserably, and it’s going to be hard to stomach the next time Marrone talks about how important loyalty is from his players or assistants or donors to a college program. Sorry Doug, you’re not in the Sainthood. It’s the Ain’thood.
D.A. hosts 6-10pm across the ever expanding universe of CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10″ opining on Zubaz pants, Tecmo Bowl and Andre Reed’s HOF credentials. D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and immediately started looking for ways to make a sports radio show more like a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and become one with the Facebook page experience. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY – a sleepy town existing somewhere between the suburbs and the sticks.