There has been quite a bit of chatter on our site about the Buffalo Bills’ first playoff game since the Clinton administration being a revenge game. Some of the talk has centered on Jacksonville. Some of the talk has focused on Buffalo.
As Bills fans remember all too well, Doug Marrone attempted to secure new terms for himself. The Pegulas didn’t blink when Marrone said he would exercise a golden parachute clause in his contract if he didn’t get what he wanted. While Marrone has said that he is happy for Buffalo and that he has no lingering animosity, it is worth recalling that he didn’t get any of the open 2015 head coaching gigs and instead wound up overseeing Jacksonville’s offensive line. Does “St. Doug” want revenge on the team that wouldn’t give him what he wanted and forced him to take a much less exalted job? Wouldn’t you?
Marcell Dareus was the number three overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. At his best he was a dominating defensive tackle who clogged run lanes but also shed blocks to make impact plays of his own. Buffalo’s coaches and front offices had not only looked the other way when Dareus got in trouble off the field, he had been rewarded with an enormous contract. The investment of the pick and the contract added to the shock of being traded for a sixth-round pick that upgraded to a fifth-rounder at the end of the season. Dareus may not have taken note of the $54 million in cap savings the Bills will realize, the true motivation behind the trade. He will no doubt have considered the indiscretions that landed him in head coach Sean McDermott’s doghouse as no big deal as they hadn’t hurt him in prior years. Could Dareus be bearing a grudge against McDermott? Sure.
On the other side of the equation is the reasoning that Marrone quit on the Bills and that players would be out for revenge. That certainly sounds like a logical line of thinking. It doesn’t hold up very well when the turnover in Buffalo’s roster is taken into consideration. The following is a list of current Buffalo players who were on the team in Marrone’s last season with the Bills:
- LB Preston Brown
- LT Cordy Glenn
- RT Seantrel Henderson
- DE Jerry Hughes
- P Colton Schmidt
- WR Deonte Thompson
- DT Kyle Williams
- C Eric Wood
That’s it. Buffalo’s roster has undergone a near-complete transformation under Rex Ryan and McDermott. It is a good bet that Brown (miscast in McDermott’s defense), Glenn and Henderson (McDermott seems to like Dawkins and even Mills for some reason), and Williams (33-year-old free agent) aren’t with the Bills in 2018. Hughes, Thompson, Schmidt, and Wood may be all that remain of the 2014 roster when the new campaign begins.
Of those players, Brown, Henderson, and Schmidt were rookies while Glenn and Thompson were second-year players. On top of that, Henderson and Glenn have been non=factors in 2017 and Schmidt is the punter. Thompson is just happy to get on the field. Of the young pups from 2014, only Preston Brown saw significant time in 2014 and 2017. Jerry Hughes loved Marrone’s tenure (10 sacks each season) and could be mad that Marrone opened the door for Rex Ryan. The two players who might be seen as having the biggest chips on their shoulders would be Wood and the last of the Fighting Williamses. Could they really get the troops whipped into a frenzy over Marrone’s quitting on Buffalo? Maybe. Will they play harder than any other week? Probably not, as neither man has been accused of taking plays off in even pedestrian games. They’ll bring their best without regard to what Marrone did after the 2014 season.