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This is part one of our “What If?” series. In the coming weeks, we will hopeless speculate on the Bills offseason. Most of it will be well-reasoned and researched, but will occasionally veer into fan-fiction territory.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Sal Capaccio claimed during an appearance on The Howard Simon Show, while discussing fan criticism directed at Doug Marrone. The fans, according to Capaccio, have disregarded the work Doug Marrone has done with the defense, in favour of his work with the offense. It’s a fair point. As a head coach, Marrone is responsible for the offense and defense, and should share in the praise, and blame, for both. I get this, I get it.
Capaccio continued his defense of Marrone. He pointed out that Marrone is responsible for hiring two experienced defensive coordinators — who both succeeded with the Bills defensive roster. Problem is Sal, how can Marrone have it both ways when it comes to hiring coordinators?
Before the Bills inevitably announce that their entire staff is coming back for next season, I want to fantasize about my favourite
godforsaken team making the right decision for once. Below are five offensive coordinators who would fit the mold of an experienced coordinator, who could, maybe, turn chicken bleep, into chicken bleep,* rather than use chicken bleep as a crutch.
1. Rob Chudzinski.
Special assistant to Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.
Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Offensive Coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.
Football outsiders rankings:
4th and 10th in offense (2011,2012) as a coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, but 26th as head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2013).
Sure, his offense didn’t exactly light it up in his lone year with the Cleveland Browns, but he had no running game to work with. Despite handing the ball off to Trent Richardson, Willis McGahee, and Edwin Baker, the Browns quarterbacks (Weeden, Campbell, and Hoyer) managed to throw over 1,600 yards combined to Josh Gordon.
In his time with Carolina, he is credited with Cam Newton’s smooth transition — (although Newton kind of doesn’t feel that way). You can probably guess where I am going with this. Maybe, just maybe, Chud could salvage EJ Manuel’s career?
Sure, it seems pretty ludicrous to pin the Bills hopes on EJ, but without Larry Bird walking through the doors of Ralph Wilson stadium anytime soon, Chudzinski is the sort of option the Bills should consider. Sure, this isn’t the sexiest idea, but what are the Bills options at this point? If you say Sam Bradford, I’m right to assume you have a 2-yard drag fetish.
2. Marc Trestman
Chicago Bears Head Coach.
Montreal Allouettes Head Coach of the Canadian Football League, a.k.a. where dreams go to die.
Football Outsider Rankings:
6th and 13th as the Chicago Bears head coach in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Trestman deploying the likes of Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and Mike Williams* is certainly intriguing So is the possibility that Trestman, a noted QB whisperer, figures out EJ Manuel.
Not to mention, his lack of leadership would be mitigated by the overbearing Doug Marrone.
*In this fantasy scenario, Chris Hogan gets traded to whatever team Kyle Orton signs with once he’s cut, and the Mike Williams fiasco turns out was just a really bad dream.
3. Norv Turner
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator
Where should I start? Better question, where hasn’t Norv Turner coached?
Football Outsider Rankings:
26th as coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2013, and 21st for the Minnesota Vikings this year.
Norv Turner hasn’t really lit it up the last couple of years, but he has a large body of work that indicates he will bounce back. Not to mention, Norv Turner has acquitted himself quite well this season with a rookie quarterback and a best running back alive suspension.
Why leave Minnesota then? Ultimately I don’t know how good of a fit Bridgewater is in Norv Turner’s Air-Coryell based system. Bridgewater isn’t noodle armed, but Bridgewater’s game is conducive to a west-coast style attack. If the Bills are actually into making the Jay Cutler experience reality, pairing him with Turner’s play-action downfield attack could work well enough to make everyone forget about Jay Cutler’s body language.
Or maybe not. Tony Romo’s excellent season has done nothing for him — other than make the unwashed masses scoff at his MVP candidacy.
4. Bill Musgrave
Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach
An offensive coordinator for four different teams, most recently the Minnesota Vikings from 2011 to 2013
Last year, the Miami Dolphins poached the Eagles quarterbacks coach, Bill Lazor, and achieved some success (9th in offense FO). Other than the uptick in team offense, Lazor has managed to make Ryan Tannehill look competent, expertly hiding his inability to throw downfield. However, Musgrave hasn’t exactly lit it up this year with the Eagles like Lazor did last year — the Eagles offense dropped from 3rd to 14th this season.
Most importantly, Bill Musgrave has a history of meh. In his 7 seasons as a coordinator, his offense has never finished above 14th in DVOA.
5. Marty Mornhinweg.
New York Jets Offensive Coordinator
Philadelphia Eagles Offensive coordinator under Andy Reid.
Was it Mornhinweig’s fault? Who can succeed with Geno Smith and Michael Vick?
Umm, do the Buffalo Bills need another shoddy carpenter who blames his tools?