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JAN 06 - JAN 14, 2015

Marrone Knew Bills Needed a Quarterback and He Got a Wide Receiver

By Tony Farina

January 06, 2015

Bills Coach Doug Marrone

Watching quarterbacks like rifle-armed Joe Flacco and determined and talented Tony Romo is a reminder just how far away the Buffalo Bills are from being an elite team. And Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning have yet to take a snap in the playoffs, and we know how good they are.

Without a strong quarterback, the Bills are destined to be on the sidelines come playoff time. It is just too difficult to compete in the NFL without a top quarterback, and Bills don't have one. That's why Doug Marrone apparently blew his stack when the Bills brain trust traded away three draft picks including a future first rounder to Cleveland to land the pick for wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Marrone knew the team needed a quarterback as he must have already given up on E J Manuel. He got Watkins, one of a number of talented receivers in the draft including Odell Beckham who is now a highlight fixture as a wide receiver for the Giants.

That was the beginning of the end for Marrone who skipped town after going 9 and 7, mostly with journeyman Kyle Orton taking the snaps. Marrone knows the Bills are not going anywhere without a quarterback and he obviously had enough of GM Doug Whaley and bean-counter Russ Brandon who preside over the dysfunctional franchise under new and overwhelmed owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Brandon has been there for the 15 years the Bills have missed the playoffs, a fixture in a front office that can't field a playoff team.

So now the Bills are frantically searching for a coach to come into town and deal with the mess that has been created, a losing franchise with no quarterback, not much in the way of draft choices, and new ownership that seems lost about what to do to make the team competitive for the long suffering Buffalo fans. Even Bill Polian, the architect of the Bills Super Bowl teams, wants no part of One Bills Drive.

The front office is talking to at least six possible coaching candidates, but it will take some kind of selling job and a boatload of money –-along with a desperate candidate looking for a head coaching job-- to get somebody in here willing to step into Doug Marrone's shoes which are still wet from the swamp he exited as soon as he could.

The Bills have some talent on defense as they proved, especially late in the season when they won games against quality opponents with no offense. But the front office must keep the leaders of that defense under contract and somehow find a quarterback and probably another running back to replace the aging Fred Jackson and the inconsistent C. J. Spiller.

But first they must find a coach and that is no easy task without a quarterback and with a history of losing that has seen the team miss the playoffs for 15 straight years. They will find somebody, for sure, but if he can't play quarterback it may not change much. Flacco, Romo, and the rest don't play in Buffalo. This franchise hasn't had a decent quarterback since Jim Kelly led them to four Super Bowls, only to come up short on the big stage.

One thing I like about a guy like Flacco (Ravens) is that he delivers in big games. He has a gun for an arm and enjoys the big stage, especially against the New England Patriots. I think the Ravens will give the Patriots a big run this weekend, and I wouldn't be surprised if they knock the Pats out and go out to the Super Bowl down the road and another title. We'll see, of course, but when you have a Flacco at quarterback with that ability to hit the deep pass, you are always in the game. That's something the Bills don't have and it may be a few years before they find a Flacco somewhere to give them a chance.





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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina