Well, that will give you a wake-up jolt more than a cup of coffee can. Adam Schefter reported yesterday that the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns will interview Syracuse Orange coach Doug Marrone for their respective head coaching jobs. This comes as a surprise, and it has nothing to do with Marrone being a bad college coach. He’s been a solid coach for ‘Cuse, but the problem is that it’s an incredibly risky hire that doesn’t make much sense for either team.
Marrone was an offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton during some big seasons for Drew Brees and the offense, but he left for Syracuse before the Super Bowl winning year. My thing is that we don’t know how much Marrone was responsible for the Saints offensive success, and I’m inclined to think that Payton is responsible for pretty much all of the offensive success from a coaching perspective.
The Syracuse coach also worked for the New York Jets in the past, and his resume in college isn’t the best either. He has .500 record with the Orange in 50 games, including a poor 11-17 conference record in the Big East. Granted, he did help that school turn around after the awful four years under Greg Robinson, and Marrone has led the team to two 8-5 seasons and Pinstripe Bowl victories in his four years thus far.
However, Marrone needs to build up a better resume before he can be considered a viable head coaching candidate. You can’t fault either the Bills or Browns for wanting to interview him, but I highly doubt he is one of the top choices for either team. The Browns are looking hard at the college ranks and have reportedly identified Oregon Ducks big-name coach Chip Kelly as their top target. If you want to pull from the college ranks, then Chip is pretty much the only legitimate option at this point. And even he has question marks on him.
The fact that the Bills and Browns decided to interview Marrone this early in the process is the most quizzical thing, and I’ve talked to a couple of fans on both franchises who aren’t too thrilled about this news.
One thing that baffles me about Jimmy Haslam’s process in running the Browns is the fact that he wants to hire a coach before a GM. It’s not a terrible decision, but most franchise do things the other way around. If they can get it to work, though, I won’t be complaining.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.