New York Jets Should Not Get Starry Eyed on Doug Marrone


Woody Johnson has been going about revamping the New York Jets the right way. The owner brought in two intelligent football minds in Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf to help him go through lists of candidates for both the general manager and head coaching spots opened by the firing of John Idzik and Rex Ryan. This is a process that should be taken step-by-step and not with haste. But the sudden availability of Doug Marrone may throw all of those good intentions out the window.

The former Jets offensive line coach stepped down as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills after just two seasons, opting out of his contract due to an ownership change. He led the Bills to a surprising 9-7 record but is only 15-17 overall.

The circumstances surrounding why Marrone walked away are not clear but he chose to do so in a short three-day window written into his contract when the late Ralph Wilson was the owner. Terry Pegula, the team’s new owner, released a short statement concerning the situation:

"We are disappointed that coach Marrone will no longer be an important part of our organization. We thank him for all of his hard work and leadership during his tenure and wish him and his family the best with the next chapter in their lives."

Perhaps Marrone figured that even though the team played extremely well this season, this was his best chance to leave while the going was good. The season turned around when he made the decision to sit second-year quarterback EJ Manuel and replace him with veteran journeyman Kyle Orton in Week 5.

At the time, the Bills were 2-2 but coming off two consecutive losses, the last being a game where Manuel threw two interceptions and was sacked twice. It was not an easy decision to make, as benching a young player who succeeded as a rookie could have been disastrous if his replacement did not do well.

But Orton, 32, was 7-5 as a starter and kept Manuel wearing a baseball cap on the sideline. He threw for over 3,000 yards and was a very efficient signal caller, moving the ball and spreading it around. But even before the season ended, Orton had announced that he was retiring to spend more time with his family and that no future opportunity would change his mind.

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So Marrone was left with the task of either building an obviously dejected Manuel’s psyche back up or bringing in another stopgap veteran quarterback. Lightening doesn’t strike twice so the best-case scenario would have been to hope Manuel would be able to bounce back.

Perhaps Johnson is looking at the two blowout losses the Jets suffered at the hands of Marrone’s Bills, the last being the rescheduled ‘home’ game for Buffalo in Detroit after a week of cancelled practices due to a blizzard in western New York.

Not to knock Marrone, because he did do a very good job in 2014 under odd circumstances with the ownership change, but he has a long way to go before being compared to Weeb Ewbank…or Rex Ryan, for that matter.

Let the process play itself out and interview all of the candidates, including Marrone if Johnson and his consultants like him. But don’t jump the gun because you’re worried another team will scoop him up first.