Doug Marrone is now more than two months into his new job as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, and he's still talking in the vaguest possible terms about what his coaching staff plans to implement schematically heading into the 2013 season. The reason? Marrone hasn't had a chance to coach his players yet, and won't until April.
"For us, we’re just looking forward to working with the players," Marrone said from the owners' meetings in Arizona. "I’m probably one of the only coaches who hasn’t worked with the players."
When discussing his plans on offense and defense, however, "multiple" was used as a descriptive adjective for both sides of the ball, and the emphasis remains one that has been repeated from day one: what the Bills do will be personnel-based.
"I’ve had a lot of success for a long time offensively, going back to when I was at Georgia Tech with coach (Ralph) Friedgen as the offensive coordinator, and George O’Leary," Marrone said yesterday. "And we’ve always been very multiple. The foundation of how we teach is from two-back, tight end, two receivers - that’s the foundation, and then we go all the way out, to even empty (backfield)."
At this point, given the likelihood of a starting rookie quarterback (Marrone deferred those questions to Buddy Nix), a very thin receiving corps and the presence of two very good running backs in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, one would surmise that the Bills will be heavily reliant on the two runners in 2013. Marrone spoke highly of the two players on Tuesday.
"I see two talented players, and I’m excited and feel fortunate," Marrone said. "I’ve heard how hard they work, and I have a great deal of respect for people like that. So I think it’s going to be fun."
The theme was similar on the defensive side of the ball, though Marrone did not deny that the team would pull heavily from the defensive fronts readily available to study on tape with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
"I’d define (the defense) as multiple," Marrone said. "If you look at it, it’s not a secret. Everyone has seen the system. You’ve seen it with Baltimore when Marvin Lewis was there - those guys. And obviously it’s been with the Jets and a lot of places. It’s multiple fronts. So, when we look, we’ll look to see where everyone fits in when we start working with them."
Buffalo's first voluntary veteran mini-camp runs from April 16-18, less than two weeks before the 2013 NFL Draft. More OTAs will be held in mid-May, and players will voluntarily be at the team's facilities for off-season conditioning starting on April 2.