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Monday, January 7, 2013
Bills hire Doug Marrone as coach

ESPN.com news services

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills introduced Doug Marrone as their new coach Monday.

Doug Marone
Doug Marrone takes over a Bills team that hasn't made a playoff appearance in 13 consecutive seasons, the NFL's longest drought.

"Today I am experiencing another dream come true," he said, according to the team's Twitter account.

"I'm dying to go to work. We have a lot of work to do," he said.

Marrone said he will look for coaches with NFL experience in his search for an offensive and defensive coordinator. 

"We want to be innovative," he said. "We want to be on the cutting edge."

Marrone, who was the Saints' offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008 before becoming Syracuse's head coach in 2009, said he will not call offensive plays for the Bills, but he'll have the final say.

"I will not be calling plays, but everything will go through me," he said.

Hired after going 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse, Marrone agreed to a four-year contract on Sunday, sources told ESPN. The 48-year-old from the Bronx takes over a week after Chan Gailey was fired following three consecutive losing seasons.

Marrone becomes the Bills' fifth coach in 12 years and inherits a franchise that newly promoted team president Russ Brandon described as having a "tarnished" reputation.

Brandon on Monday said the Bills conducted a "thorough, exhaustive and exhilarating search" for their new coach.

Buffalo's 13-season playoff drought is the NFL's longest active streak, and the team has not had a winning record since 2004, when it finished 9-7.

Marrone is described as a no-nonsense disciplinarian. 

The Orange offered congratulations to Marrone on his new job with a tweet Monday.

"#OrangeNation wishes head coach Doug Marrone all the best in NFL with the Bills. Thanks for what you've done at the 'Cuse," the school posted on its Twitter account.

The Syracuse job was Marrone's first as a head coach. He has seven years of NFL experience. Marrone spent 2006-08 with the Saints and was the New York Jets' offensive line coach from 2002-05.

Marrone's former boss, Saints coach Sean Payton, told NOLA.com that his former assistant coach is ready to be a head coach at the NFL level and lauded him for his leadership and teaching abilities.

"I think he's certainly someone the players will respond to, and I think he's ready," Payton told the website.

At Syracuse, Marrone enjoyed two 8-5 seasons -- this year and in 2010 -- and won two Pinstripe Bowls, including last month's 38-14 victory over West Virginia. Behind Marrone's newly installed up-tempo offense, the Orange closed last season by winning six of their final seven games.

Marrone has an offensive-minded background, and his first challenge in Buffalo will be addressing the team's needs at quarterback. It's a position that's lacked stability in Buffalo since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season.

The team has since gone through nine quarterbacks who have started at least eight games. That includes current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose future is uncertain after going 20-33 in four seasons in Buffalo.

General manager Buddy Nix has already said he intends to improve the position in the draft and potentially in free agency. Fitzpatrick is also due a $3 million bonus in March from the six-year, $59 million contract extension he signed in October 2011.

There's work to do to improve a high-priced but underachieving defense that was one of the NFL's worst during Gailey's three seasons. That includes this past season, when the Bills allowed 435 points -- the second-most in team history.

That was despite the offseason addition of defensive end Mario Williams, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract in March in becoming the NFL's highest-paid defensive player.

Brandon is open to being second-guessed in making his first major decision since being given full day-to-day operational control of the team after owner Ralph Wilson promoted him to president on Jan. 1. Brandon had vowed the coaching search would be "exhaustive" and that he "would leave no stone unturned."

Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press was used in this report.