As the list of candidates to fill the looming NFL head-coaching vacancies begins to be compiled, a name that largely has been forgotten has once again become front and center: Former Bills coach Doug Marrone.
Some have Marrone not just as a fringe candidate in a season that may have more vacancies than “A” list candidates, but as a no-brainer. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media rattled off Marrone’s name earlier today not as a possibility but as a given, along with Patriots coach Josh McDaniels and Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
The obvious response is this: Why didn’t Marrone get hired last year, after opting to leave the Bills with full pay for 2015 following the change in ownership? As one source with knowledge of the dynamics recently explained it to PFT, Marrone arrived on the scene as a potential candidate a little too unexpectedly for teams to scrap their existing plans.
This year, Marrone (the offensive line coach and assistant head coach-offense in Jacksonville) is a known candidate. The resurgence (relatively speaking) of the Jaguars won’t hurt his cause.
The bigger boost for Marrone will come from his work with the Bills. He took the team to a 9-7 record in 2014. This year, the 5-5 Bills may have a hard time matching that performance despite having better talent.
Also helping Marrone will be the simple fact that there may be too many vacancies and not enough truly qualified coaches to take the jobs. Some have pegged the number of potential total openings at a whopping 14.
While the actual number surely will be much lower, there still may not be enough clear candidates for those jobs. And if an owner is looking for one of the rarest of former head coaches who wasn’t fired but chose to leave, Marrone could indeed be on the short list, somewhere.
Or in multiple somewheres.