Now that the Buffalo Bills have concluded their first season of play under new head coach Doug Marrone, let's take one last glance back at the 2013 season under his watch and take the fan base's temperature about Marrone heading into the off-season.
The Bills, of course, finished 6-10 overall, landing on that record for the third straight season. They did, however, finish 3-3 in the AFC East, the first time they'd reached .500 in the division since 2007. By comparison, Marrone's three division wins are one fewer than Chan Gailey was able to muster from 2010-2012. A bit of a home/away dichotomy developed in Marrone's first season, as well; the Bills were 4-3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, losing those three games by a combined 15 points, but were just 2-7 in road contests.
Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett guided the Bills to a No. 19 finish in the league's offensive rankings, with a No. 2 finish in the run department. The Bills averaged 144.2 yards per game on the ground, trailing only Philadelphia in the category, and ran the ball more than any other team in the league, averaging 34.1 run attempts per game. They were a bit more average in the yards per attempt gained category, finishing tied for No. 14 with a 4.2-yard average. The passing numbers, needless to say, were a bit more dismal; they ranked No. 28 in the category, and their 16 passing touchdowns was tied for the second-lowest total in the league, ahead of only the New York Jets.
Defensively, the Bills finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed per game (No. 10, in fact) for the first time since 2004. That included a No. 4 finish against the pass, aided by their second-place finishes in team sacks (57) and interceptions (23). Then again, a No. 28-ranked run defense that surrendered 4.4 yards per carried (No. 23 in the NFL) might have had a lot to do with the lofty pass defense finish, as well.
Marrone did not sound as if he were prepared to make sweeping changes to his coaching staff this off-season when asked about it at the team's year-end press conference. Wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard was relieved of his duties, but special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, a popular whipping boy among the fan base, remains on staff - and Marrone sounds ready to improve his core group of specialists this spring.