By Tim Graham
Herm Edwards knows how casual sports fans will react to hearing Doug Marrone has been chosen for next Buffalo Bills coach.
"They don't know him," Edwards said today from ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn. "He's one of those guys where everybody's going to be saying, 'Who? Wha? Huh?' "
Edwards knows Marrone, the Syracuse head coach the past four seasons. Edwards was the New York Jets head coach who hired Marrone to coach the offensive line in 2002.
"He doesn't have that name when you think about offensive guys," Edwards said. "But Doug did a good job at Syracuse, got them back to respectability. He built a program. Buffalo's a team with talent. Buffalo can be competitive."
Edwards took some time while monitoring today's playoff games to share with the Press Coverage blog his thoughts. Marrone is replacing another of Edwards' former assistants. Chan Gailey was Edwards' offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Edwards was mildly surprised by the hire. He predicted the Bills would pursue a defensive-minded coach. But he's bullish on Marrone's ability to make an impact.
"He's very competitive, but his emotions won't always show that," Edwards said. "He has a good demeanor. He's an offensive-line guy, and they process information different.
"He's a detail guy. He's very organized. He understands the importance of fundamentals and technique. He will stress that. He will make sure the assistant coaches teach that. He's going to be thorough in how he presents what he wants to do on both sides of the football, and he'll make sure they're fundamentally sound.
"His strongest traits will be putting players into position to have success, and he's about developing players. He'll be very good offensively. He understands a skill set of players. The offensive line along with the quarterback probably will be his focal point."
Edwards noted the consummate example of Marrone's development skills and attention to fundamentals was Brandon Moore, an undrafted defensive tackle the Jets converted into a guard. Moore has been a starter at right guard for nine seasons and went to the Pro Bowl last year.
Marrone left the Jets to become the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator. From there, he went to Syracuse.
"He has to get a strong-handed guy defensively so he can concentrate on the offense and turn that thing over to a good defensive coordinator," Edwards said. "That's where the problem lies.
"That's their Achilles heel the last four years. They can't stop the run. They haven't figured it out. Chan went through two defensive coordinators, and before that Dick Jauron was a defensive guy."
Marrone was an under-the-radar candidate when the NFL season came to an end, but he became a hot candidate when word circulated he was interviewing with teams. He also drew interest from the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers.
"That's how the league works," Edwards said. "When you get one candidate, other teams say, 'Well, if they're interviewing him, why aren't we interviewing him?' If you don't have a set guy you're going after, then it doesn't hurt to look at those guys. 'Let's bring him in. Let's find out.'
"Mike Tomlin wasn't Pittsburgh's first choice. He got the interview and sold them on his vision."