In an alternate past somewhere along the timeline, the Buffalo Bills did make the playoffs in either 2015 or 2016. Behind head coach Doug Marrone, the Bills finished second in the AFC East both years, making the playoffs as one of the Wildcard teams. Again though, that’s just an alternate future. Any chance of that happening left when Doug Marrone walked away from the organization.
At the time, Marrone was criticized for resigning and walking away from the organization. However, in hindsight, Marrone probably did the right thing for his career in walking away. With general manager Doug Whaley in control of the roster and player decisions, Marrone was not willing to allow his reputation as a coach to be bettered or worsened based off someone else’s decisions.
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No one can argue either that this team wasn’t on the right track when Marrone left. Getting the team to 9-7 in 2014, the Bills looked like they were on the cusp of a playoff appearance. However, given the problems that took place during the Rex Ryan-era, one could make the point that Marrone would have also faced a similar fate given the decisions of Whaley and company.
That said, Buffalo Bills fans around the country are about to get a look at what could have been now that Marrone has been hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach. With many young players in J-Ville, Marrone’s success with the Jaguars will show us Bills fans what could have been if he had remained with the Buffalo Bills.
While there are many differences between the 2015 Bills and the 2017 Jaguars, I will be more interested in Marrone’s ability to help and improve Jacksonville’s deficiencies. Namely, the regression of quarterback Blake Bortles. Given how poorly he played, I have no doubt that if Marrone could fix Bortles, he could have helped in Buffalo.
While there are no guarantees in the NFL, Buffalo Bills fans will have a keen eye on the Jaguars next season. Success down in Jacksonville will end up giving us a brief glimpse into what could have been for the Buffalo Bills.
That said, hopefully they don’t make the playoffs under Marrone, it will just make a lot of us feel worse in the fact that he got away.