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New Buffalo Bills Coach, Doug Marrone, Considers New York Giants’ Tom Coughlin a Mentor

January 8th, 2013 at 11:00 AM
By Dan Benton

The Buffalo Bills surprised many when they signed Syracuse's Doug Marrone to be their next head coach. There were seemingly better options available, and fan reaction was less than pleased, but Marrone has already received quite an endorsement from New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, whom Marrone considers a friend and mentor.

“He’s proven that he can coach in the modern era," Coughlin said. "[He] is a man who is very serious about his work. [He] shares the work ethic that the people of Western New York have long been known for. When he came to visit me – which was the year before last – he had specific questions he wanted to ask. He was very direct. He was recruiting in the area and he took the time out to visit with us despite the fact he was obviously on a mission.”

A lot of Marrone's coaching style is modeled after that of Tom Coughlin, and although his players aren't entirely familiar with the man, that has already created some expectations.

“It looks like a good hire from the outside looking in, and I’m definitely excited to get to know him and start working with him,” said center Eric Wood. “From what I’ve been reading, he considers one of his mentors Tom Coughlin. So that tells me we better be ready for some tough days ahead. But hard work will get us where we want to go."

Marrone won't be the first coach to go from the NCAA to the NFL and use a coaching style derived from watching Coughlin. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano offered some praise for Coughlin and his coaching influence prior to their week two game, but that quickly went out the window when Schiano did something Coughlin would never do: he instructed his players to dive at the knees of the Giants during victory formation.

In addition to Coughlin, former Giants quarterback and current CBS analyst Phil Simms offered some encouraging words for Marrone.

“I know 25-25 [at Syracuse] does not sound like a great record, but that program was completely in the gutter when he went up there. He did a wonderful job,” Simms said.

Marrone and Coughlin will face off, job security and potential Super Bowl matchup pending, in 2015.

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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Doug Marrone, Football, Greg Schiano, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Phil Simms, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom Coughlin

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17 Responses to “New Buffalo Bills Coach, Doug Marrone, Considers New York Giants’ Tom Coughlin a Mentor”

  1.  norm says:

    All these comparisons being made here between the RG3 and Nicks situations are downright moronic.

    Yes, Nicks was cleared to play and was obviously hobbled while on the field. But HE WAS CLEARED BY THE TEAM DOCTOR. Not the coaching staff or the owner. And therein lies the difference.

    In hindsight, it sure looks as if the MD who cleared Nicks to play made an error in judgment. That happens. For all the faith we place in modern medicine, the uncomfortable truth is that for all its incredible advances, it is not infallible. Doctors make mistakes. Even knowledgeable, highly skilled orthopedic surgeons like Dr. Russell Warren.

    That said, when it comes to deciding whether or not a player is healthy enough to withstand the rigors of participating in a football game, I’ll trust the opinion of a doctor (imperfect tho’ it may be) over that of a head coach or some Napoleonic vontz of an owner.

    The reports coming out of DC sure seem to indicate that the decision to play RG3 was made by someone other than the team doctor. Whatever one’s opinion of the Giants coaches, front office, ownership, I seriously doubt that they would EVER contravene the advice of their medical staff.

    What makes the RG3 situation so unique is not just the high profile of the player involved. It is the fact that in the week before a huge playoff matchup, the team’s MD all but told a “USA Today” reporter that his team’s star QB was taking the field against his advice. I don’t think people truly appreciate just how unprecedented Dr Andrews’ comments were. In my almost 50 years of watching sports, I can’t recall many instances (if any at all) where a team doctor went public with concerns over his employers’ handling of its marquee player. Those things are always kept in house.

    Now, if Dr. Andrews made those comments after the fact, then it could be easily written off as him scrambling to cover his a$$. But they were made BEFOREHAND. Which suggests to me a degree of frustration over the way in which Griffin’s injury had been handled. My hunch is that he tried to sound the alarm up the entire Redskin chain of command and was overruled at every turn. Hence the decision to publicly blow the whistle.

    Obviously, this is all just speculation on my part. But from my admittedly limited vantage point, it sure appears to me that there’s almost nothing comparable in the way the RG3 and Nicks situations were handled. And this is not just my Giants homerism, either. I doubt the number of NFL organizations who would blatantly disregard the advice of its medical staff is much greater than one.

    •  James Stoll says:

      Norm. I ay be the one who first compared Nicks’ situation to RG’s
      The distinction you see may be valid if Andrews was the only voice. I suspect he was not. I suspect someone with an MD after his name cleared him. Shopping for a result perhaps but I doubt it was just coaches.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      From my view that’s not the case. I have heard second or third hand what andrews said but does anyone have the link. My impression has been the complete opposite that RG3 was cleared to play. I do wonder if Andrews cleared him but stated he does have concerns. Which could create part of the confusion there seems to be.

  2.  Chad Eldred says:

    The one thing that we know for certain is that this story isn’t going away any time soon. I really feel bad for the kid, he is still at an age where he thinks he’s indestructible. Cooler heads should prevail in those situations, not enable the poor judgement for selfish reasons.

  3.  Krow says:

    Something I just recently learned … team doctors actually pay the team for the privilege of being the ‘team doctor’. Yep. It’s not like they go out and find some legendary orthopedic surgeon. The guy with the most cash gets the honor. Apparently it’s a big career boost … and it’s up for sale like everything else in the NFL.

    So when you see players say they’re going to get their own medical advice … this is partly the reason why.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    I agree with Simms. Marrone getting Syracuse to 25-25 is an awfully good job. It’s been many years since top players really wanted to go play there.

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      Marrone has done a phenomenal job. How he will translate to the NFL is another matter entirely. One of the reasons that I thought Marrone would get the nod is because he is so highly regarded right now in the upstate and Western NY areas where Bills fans dwell. He’s cheaper than the high profile guys, but still generates some excitement with the fan base, largely because of his success at SU. It’s the perfect bang for the buck that the Buffalo organization craves.

      •  Krow says:

        To be honest … I think he’s the right guy for Buffalo. They weren’t getting a media coach … no way Gruden was taking his suckfest to western NY. Lovie Smith is a bit punched out. Marrone will do fine … if … if he gets good coords and assistants … they draft or sign a real QB … and give him a few years.

        •  Chad Eldred says:

          You’re absolutely right. Aside from Buffalo’s penchant for small-ball, it is not easy attracting talent to that area. A lot of coaches, especially established ones, would rather coach elsewhere. I’m definitely not saying it’s a bad hire, but as an SU fan, it’s sad to see him leave. The team had gotten so bad, that I started following Va. Tech. Marrone gave SU football fans all they wanted, which was some respect. Something that they had lost and for many, had given up on. I wish Marrone the best, it would be a nice story for Western NY. I lived there during my college years and still have a special place in my heart for the area and my friends there. However, despite my fondness whenever my friends get out of line I quickly work Norwood into the conversation.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          I think the NFL is finding out that mid tier programs coaches might translate better to the NFL than the big program coaches simply because they are use to coachig against equal or better talent. All the recent college coaches fit that bill except for Pete Carroll. I know many hate him but I always felt like he got a raw deal NFL wise his first time so I’m not surprised at his success.

  5.  GOAT56 says:

    I think this clears things up:

    Dr. Andrews backs Mike Shanahan, says coach didn’t lie about RG3

    Hours before the Redskins faced the Seahawks in Sunday’s wild-card matchup, USA Today quoted Washington team doctor James Andrews as saying that he never looked at quarterback Robert Griffin III when he briefly came to the sideline after initially spraining his right knee in the Week 14 game against the Ravens.

    “[Griffin] didn’t even let us look at him,” Andrews told USA Today. “He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players and took off back to the field. It wasn’t our opinion. We didn’t even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me.”

    Griffin returned to the game for several plays before eventually giving way to backup Kirk Cousins.

    Andrews’ remarks contradicted what coach Mike Shanahan said after the Ravens game.

    “We had Dr. Andrews on the sideline with us,” the coach said at the time. “He’s the one that gives me the information. It’s way over my head. I’m just telling you what he said. We felt very good with the news.”

    Naturally, the discrepancy raised questions about whether Shanahan was being truthful, which was only exacerbated after RG3 again injured his right knee against the Seahawks.

    In comments Monday to the Washington Post, Andrews says that “Coach Shanahan didn’t lie about it, and I didn’t lie about it.”

    So what happened in that Ravens game?

    “I didn’t get to examine [Griffin's knee] because he came out for one play, didn’t let us look at him and on the next play, he ran through all the players and back out onto the field,” Andrews said. “Coach Shanahan looks at me like, ‘Is he OK?’ and I give him the ‘Hi’ sign as in, ‘He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.’ But I didn’t get to check him out until after the game.

    “It was just a communication problem,” Andrews continued. “Heat of battle. I didn’t get to tell him I didn’t get to examine the knee. Mike Shanahan would never have put him out there at risk just to win a game.”

    After Sunday’s loss to Seattle that saw Griffin laid out on the FedEx Field turf after awkwardly twisting his right knee, Shanahan was asked about Andrews’ input regarding his quarterback’s ability to play.

    “Our medical staff said he was fine to play,” the coach said. “Checked with the doctors and asked them their opinion if we would be hampering his LCL if we did play him or was he in good enough shape to go into the game and play at the level that we need for him to win.”

    Shanahan was asked if Andrews was one of those doctors that approved Griffin’s return against the Seahawks.

    “Yes.”

    And what was Shanahan’s reaction to Andrews being “worried” for RG3, which FOX play-by-play man Joe Buck brought up several times during the telecast?

    “I think doctors always worry anytime somebody has an injury,” said the coach. “But they clear a player if they think he’s able to play, and we obviously take their recommendation very seriously. We would not play Robert if we thought there was a risk of him further injuring that LCL.”

    Which appears to be exactly what happened. The Post reported Monday that the latest MRI on Griffin’s knee revealed partial ACL and LCL tears.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/eye-on-football/21516078/dr-andrews-backs-mike-shanahan-says-coach-didnt-lie-about-rg3

    •  Krow says:

      This like arguing that you’re not evil, just stupid and incompetent. I’m not sure which is better.

  6.  rlhjr says:

    Bottom line, Dr. Andrews has been the SME (subject matter expert) in this area since Joe Namath came into the league.

    If Dr. Andrews says you should not play, get your pop corn ready.

    Also 18 month recovery is not out of the way for someone who has old injury and re-injures old and has a new tear. The kid’s knee is hosed up…..large.

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    So, as the Giants are evaluating their entire team, position-by-position, and assessing the free agents who will be out there, analyzing their budget, and making critical decisions about priorities going forward, where does everyone think they will go?

    My first take this morning is that with this injury to RGIII the way into the playoffs in 2013 is clear, and it goes through Dallas. They are the team we have to beat. What do we need to give us the best chance to do that? A stronger offensive line, a significantly better pass rush, a run-stopper at DT, and a corner who can match up with Dez Bryant (with help).

    Next year’s Cowboys will have a better back end because they will certainly add a safety one way or the other, and they will have their injured linebackers back. The weakest link in their defense may become the front three in their 3-4 defense, but in any case we will have to be able to run the ball against them or have a heap of trouble. And we will have to get Eli more time (I don’t care what the stats say….he was hurried way too much this season).

    Romo will be back, and he’s still very good (despite what wishful thinking, and the disgruntled Dallas fans, make him). Give him time to find Bryant (headed toward becoming every bit the monster he was thought to be coming out of college) and you have trouble. So we need a ferocious pass rush, a DT who can stop the run and make the play-action less effective, and a cover corner who can deal with Dez well enough to only need help from a safety on occasion (I THINK that is Prince, but we need at least one more anyway and unless Webster has an unbelievable bounce-back year we may not have that guy because Hosley, whom I think will be very good, simply isn’t big enough).

    Reese has to get us all four of those things to put us in good shape in the NFC East and in the league in general. The rest is noise. Those are the priorities.

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