By Tim Graham
Buffalo Bills head coach-elect Doug Marrone has fans in the Crescent City.
A New Orleans Times-Picayune story about Marrone's ascent contains glowing remarks from Saints coach Sean Payton and former offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb. Marrone was the Saints' offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008 before taking the top job at Syracuse University.
"I think he's certainly someone the players will respond to, and I think he's ready," Payton told Times-Picayune reporter Larry Holder today.
A Bills source told The Buffalo News today that they'd reached an agreement in principle with Marrone. ESPN reported tonight the deal would be for four years, but the Bills haven't commented officially.
"I think he'll do a great job," Payton said. "I really do. I know he had a handful of options this offseason with some of these pro teams. I'm excited to see him get this opportunity. He deserves it."
Stinchcomb played at the University of Georgia when Marrone coached the O-line there in 2000.
"Our paths crossed twice, and I'm grateful for it," Stinchcomb said. "He is, in my opinion, the best position coach that I got to play for and got to be on a team with.
"He's just a very detail-oriented guy that's extremely driven and loves and respects the game of football. He was a huge influence on my career."
In making the jump to the NFL, he reached out to Payton for advice.
"Really, he had a couple of specific questions and the one thing that I can recall our conversations centering around was the comfort level," Payton said. "There's somebody you're going to meet in the process that you're going to work with and turn the program around. Any of these job openings, they all have weaknesses because they wouldn't be open if they didn't.
"I kind of really equated it to the process I went through and having a chance to meet and get to know Mickey [Loomis] and Mr. [Tom] Benson. There are a lot of thing you could find wrong with certain jobs, but you have to find that certain person or two and the ownership you feel that can really help you.
"I felt that way, and I think in Doug's case, I went back to that experience with him. The interaction you have with your general manager and your owner is going to be not just occasional. It's going to be daily. You've got to have a comfort level."