Thanks to the addition of former Orange wide receivers coach, Rob Moore, is Buffalo becoming Syracuse west?
Mike Rodak, reporting for the NFL Nation on ESPN.com, had an interesting take on Doug Marrone’s addition of Moore last week. Rodak is concerned that adding too many coaches from a college staff with little NFL coaching experience between them could be a hindrance to the advancement of the Bills staff.
With the addition of Moore, the Bills now has seven former Syracuse assistants on his staff, mostly on the offensive side of the ball. This is not an anomaly, however, as Chip Kelly brought five of his assistants from the University of Oregon with him when he took the Philadelphia Eagles job and Greg Schiano took six with him. In fact, Bill O’Brien offered spots on his Houston Texans staff to eight of his former Penn State assistants when he was named the Texans head coach in January.
One would expect O’Brien to hire assistants from the NFL since he already had connections there from his earlier stints in the league.
This writer does not believe Marrone’s rewarding of loyal assistants with positions on his new staff is necessarily a negative. It creates continuity by allowing Marrone to surround himself with those who already understand his vision and coaching philosophies and tendencies instead of having to start from scratch in every aspect of his new position.
It is essential to hit the ground running in the NFL when there’s never truly an off-season so by bringing in those who he was comfortable and familiar with provided Marrone with a leg up last year.
However, one can agree that hiring an equal or similar number of coaches with several years of experience in the NFL is important. The NFL is a totally different game from college football with a faster pace, different rules, and bigger/stronger players that might not fit as neatly within certain college based schemes. Having an eye trained more in the NFL game is a key reason to being successful sooner than later, particularly at the coordinator positions.
Marrone did hire externally for the defensive side of the ball, first naming Mike Pettine as his defensive coordinator last year and then, after Pettine left to become the Cleveland Browns’ head coach, bringing in former Detroit Lions head coach and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz to replace him.
This could explain why the Bills defense produced some very solid numbers last season, accounting for the 2nd most sacks in the league (57) and producing the second most interceptions (23) behind only the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Conversely, the offense struggled often, ranking just 28th in passing yards per game (193.9) and 22nd in points per game (21.2).
Whether that had to do with Marrone’s decision to name Nathaniel Hackett, his offensive coordinator at Syracuse, to the same position in Buffalo or whether it had more to due with upheaval at the quarterback position with E.J. Manuel missing five games with various knee injuries and starting 3 different quarterback over the season, is yet to be determined. If Doug Whaley provides Manuel with more offensive weapons (a pass catching tight end or two might be nice) and he manages to stay healthy, yet still fails to develop that may be on Hackett.
If that’s the case, than Rodak’s concerns about too many college coaches on the Bills staff might prove true.