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Doug Marrone wants to know what a franchise QB is

By Tim Graham

New Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone's ability to avoid answering a question like Fran Tarkenton on a desperation scramble is becoming fodder for national media outlets.

It turns out Sports Illustrated writer Don Banks was the one who asked Marrone at the NFL owners meetings about the Bills' decision to cut Ryan Fitzpatrick, eliciting a response that would make Sergeant Schultz proud.

Banks recounted his interaction with Marrone at the NFL owners meetings. Their Q&A included Marrone admitting he didn't know the Bills have missed the playoffs 13 straight seasons and haggling over the definition of what a franchise quarterback is.

"I always think to myself, 'What do people mean when they say franchise, you know?' " Marrone said. "What's the definition of that? I was fortunate. I was part of a team with Dan Marino. So was Dan Marino a franchise [quarterback]? And obviously I was in New Orleans with Drew [Brees] and in New York we had Vinny Testaverde and Chad [Pennington]. What are they? Are they franchise? I'm only asking that.

"We're going to have somebody back there playing that position for us. I don't know what category to put them in.''

It was reminiscent of Marrone's jousting with an out-of-town reporter, who asked at the NFL scouting combine about hiring wide receivers assistant Ike Hilliard, who has little coaching experience.

"Well, again, when you say he has not been a coach for very long, what does long mean?" Marrone replied.

Banks took away this from Marrone:

There you have it, Bills fans. Marrone may not yet know who his quarterback will be, but you don't have to listen to him long to realize that Buffalo taking a quarterback in either the first or second round is the biggest lock of this year's draft. At the moment, the Bills have just two quarterbacks on their roster: Tarvaris Jackson and Aaron Corp (who Marrone referred to as Andy Corp).

Maybe that's a great sign for Corp. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft once referred to his franchise quarterback as Kyle Brady.


Doug Marrone | Tarvaris Jackson
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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 |