Dec 8, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Buffalo Bills head coachDoug Marrone
during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It is no secret that the Buffalo Bills are in a pivotal time in their history. In any sports team’s history people are able to look back at a time and point out where the team began to transition in the right direction or began, or in some cases, continued to trend down the wrong path.
Next season will likely be that season for the Bills. People will look back in time and be able to look at next season and think the Bills began the rise up in the ranks of the NFL, or they continued to come up short with a roster full of potential.
This upcoming season could very well be a make or break season for many parts of the Bills’ organization.
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This is no more apparent in the case of Bills head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone is going into his second season of a four-year contract that he signed with the Bills last January. Marrone went 25-25 in four seasons as the head coach of the Syracuse Orange before signing with the Bills.
After the move to the NFL, in his first season with Buffalo, Marrone guided the Bills to an AFC East worst, 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. Not the opening chapter that Marrone wanted I’m sure.
However, during the off season the Bills have seemed to be trending up with several analysts across the nation calling the Bills dark horses in this year’s playoff race. This is all thanks in part to the Bills making moves that make the Bills look better on paper. Whether or not that translates onto the field is a different story.
Buffalo made the big splash in this year’s Draft trading away a first and fourth round pick in next year’s draft in order to move up into the number four spot and bring in Sammy Watkins. Along with Watkins, the Bills have acquired Mike Williams who has just under 3,000 reception yards and 25-touchdowns in four seasons. Put Williams and Watkins along side Robert Woods, and the Bills have a crop of explosive wide receivers.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bills brought in Brandon Spikes who will stand alongside Kiko Alonso making an already stingy defense even better. The Bills lost Jairus Byrd and will try to fill his shoes with Da’Norris Searcy, a tall order for any player.
Those are all very big additions to a team that already has EJ Manuel throwing the ball and CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson running the ball. Of course those players will need to stay healthy, which was a problem for both Spiller and Manuel last season.
Needless to say the Bills have made moves that should move the Bills closer, if not into a playoff spot come season’s end. Marrone will have to lead this group towards that outcome and if they come up short he will likely take the blunt of the blame.
With the talent brought in during this off season and the price of some of that talent, an outcome like a 6-10 record, maybe even anything under 8-8 could be the beginning of the end for Marrone.
In years down the road will Bills fans look back at this season and say that was where the Bills turned things around or will they say that was where Marrone started packing his bags?