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Doug Marrone not concerned with Nathaniel Hackett's experience

By Jay Skurski

Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone had no doubt Nathaniel Hackett would be his offensive coordinator if he took a job in the NFL.

Marrone confirmed that yesterday when I asked him if he had interviewed anyone else for the position.

"No, I knew right away that if this was the situation, Nathaniel was the one I wanted to be with," he said.

In today's print edition, Hackett talks at length about his experience. 

I asked Marrone why he felt comfortable hiring an offensive coordinator who just turned 33 and has never called plays at the NFL. Here was his full response:

"When you look at Nate’s background, when you talk about experience, again it doesn’t fall into that criteria of what you’ve described as being in this league and coaching in this league as far as experience of whatever you may have to need. Five years, 10 years, I don’t know what your criteria is, but I can tell you what my thoughts were.

"My thoughts were obviously I’ve been in the same position before and hired Nathaniel at Syracuse, and I was looking for someone that had a background in the system that I believed in, what I wanted to do. And I had some of those same questions that you have, and then when I really researched it and started going around and I thought about -- everyone obviously knows my background and I worked for his dad at the New York Jets -- I realized that here is someone that has been around the system his whole life, that’s been around the locker rooms, that’s been around the schedules, that’s had access to things that not a lot of people do, with the training  tapes and things like that. Then after that going to Tampa Bay and being with coach Gruden, the same type of terminology. Because I don’t want to get locked into the parameters of 'hey, what is this system?'

"The terminology there, and then obviously comeing back up here to Buffalo, all those things and that type of experience I wanted to get first hand from Nathaniel when I brought him in. And I brought others in at that time, too, to interview for the offensive coordinator job. To me, it just jumped off that type of experience and how well it was."

Give Marrone credit. He was certainly prepared for the question. The coach also talked about the play-calling duties with the Bills.

"We worked through that all when we were at Syracuse, and I was extremely happy with where we were going and where we were developing," Marrone said. "So for me, personally, with my  beliefs on offense, it was very easy for me to make the decision that I wanted Nathaniel here. We've gone though three years together of the growing pains of what we want to do and where we want to be in an offensive system."


Doug Marrone | Nathaniel Hackett
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |