Less than a week after firing head coach Chan Gailey, the Buffalo Bills have replaced him: ESPN's Adam Schefter, followed swiftly by several other media outlets, reports that Syracuse Orange head coach Doug Marrone will replace Gailey as Bills head coach. WGR 550's Howard Simon says that the deal is not yet complete, but that the deal will happen barring a last-minute breakdown.
Marrone, 48, has been a coach for 21 years following a short NFL playing career as an offensive guard. He spent seven years on NFL sidelines as an assistant - first as the New York Jets' offensive line coach from 2002-05, then as the offensive coordinator for Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints from 2006-08 - before becoming the head man at Syracuse.
In those four seasons at Syracuse, he inherited a program that had gone 10-37 under previous head coach Greg Robinson. Marrone's Orange teams were 25-25 on his watch, winning two bowl games in that four-year window. He managed to earn the program some respectability in short order, has developed some NFL talent (defensive tackle Arthur Jones, running back Delone Carter, linebacker Doug Hogue, defensive end Chandler Jones and guard Andrew Tiller were all drafted out of Marrone's program), and has one of the best quarterback prospects coming out this year in Ryan Nassib.
In the past week, Marrone had been linked not just to the Bills' coaching gig, but to openings with the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers, as well. No other current coaching candidate on the market was drawing as much interest as Marrone, who has reportedly earned glowing reviews from the likes of Bill Parcells, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton.
Now, Marrone will reportedly be patrolling the sidelines in Orchard Park next season. The Bills have not yet confirmed this report, but we can safely expect an announcement in the next day or two.