PHILADELPHIA -- Doug Marrone is a strange candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles’ vacant head coaching position.
The Eagles interviewed Marrone in 2013, as part of the process that resulted in the hiring of Chip Kelly. Marrone became head coach of the Buffalo Bills during that hiring cycle.
After two seasons in Buffalo, Marrone exercised an opt-out clause in his contract. He collected a $4 million lump sum payout and walked away from the job. The Bills hired Rex Ryan to replace him.
If Marrone expected to vault from Buffalo to a more desirable NFL head coaching job, his plan didn’t work. He took a job as an assistant coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Marrone, who was the head coach at Syracuse University before taking the Buffalo job, is by all accounts a well-respected coach. He could have opportunities with the Cleveland Browns or the New Orleans Saints, if the latter parts ways with Sean Payton.
But after his departure from Buffalo, can Eagles owner Jeff Lurie really take a chance on Marrone? Lurie just extricated himself from Kelly, whose tenure was marked by his demand for full control of personnel decisions.
That didn’t end well, but it didn’t end as badly as Marrone’s tenure in Buffalo. After going 9-7 in his second season, things appeared to be looking up for the Bills. The franchise was undergoing an ownership change, which triggered the opt-out clause in Marrone’s contract.
Marrone opted out, abandoning players he chose and coached, as well as assistant coaches who relocated to work with him.
Given the Eagles’ history of front-office turmoil and sniping, Lurie must be sure that Marrone would feel comfortable working at the NovaCare Complex. It is not an easy place for a coach to function, especially with general manager Howie Roseman restored to power.
Lurie has identified a number of good candidates, beginning with Eagles assistants Duce Staley and Pat Shurmur. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin also are reportedly on Lurie’s list.
After firing Kelly, Lurie talked about the importance of getting a coach who would open his heart to players and to Philadelphia fans. It’s hard to imagine players and fans in Buffalo would see Marrone in that light.