The way it ended in Syracuse was uncomfortable. The way it ended in Buffalo was unbelieveable. And through all the tumult, a once popular Orange coach became a pariah in upstate New York. He took a flaming pile of trash that was left behind by Groobers, and turned it into a winner, one that went to two Pinstripe Bowls in three seasons. His team also made the Texas Bowl the year after he left.
But by ducking out on the Bills in such sudden fashion, he branded himself as arrogant and disloyal, and it came back to bite him. Marrone assumed he had his choice of better jobs across the NFL when he left, however he was snubbed for all of them, and had to take an offensive line coach position.
He’s lucky he’s made it back to being the head man of an NFL team, because had these circumstances not broken perfect for him, he’d probably never sniff it again. But the Jaguars hired Tom Coughlin a Syracuse guy known for his militaristic, no-nonense approach. And Marrone checked all those boxes. But had the VP of Football Ops in Jacksonville been an LSU or Nebraska guy? Marrone may still be just an offensive line coach.
Little has been expected of the Jags coming into this season, but after a blowout (and shocking) win over the Texans in week one, Jacksonville is only a slight underdog at home this weekend against the Titans. The NFL odds say the Fighting Marrones are either a 1.5 point underdog or a pick ’em against the AFC South favorites.
It’s a good, young nucleus that was primed for a tough teacher after the laid-back Gus Bradley Era. It’s a winnable division most years. And his boss likely sees a lot of himself in Marrone. This might be the perfect fit for Marrone, and he should be thanking the heavens every night he got another shot.