Just before Christmas, Saint Doug has returned.
The Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday named former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone their interim head coach for the final two games of the 2016 season. Marrone replaces Gus Bradley, who was fired Sunday night following Jacksonville's loss to Houston.
Marrone was named to the post by St. Francis High School product and Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell.
"Obviously you don't want to be standing up here in this type of situation," Marrone said in a press conference with the Jacksonville media. "This is a tough time for the organization. We have two games left. A tough time for the coaches, a tough time for the players. One of the things I've come to understand is the great leadership that we did have from Gus.
"I understand this business – believe me, with wins and losses – but the one thing as an assistant coach, you talk to our coaches or our coordinators, was the way our players went out there and competed. That doesn't happen around the league often when you have the type of record that we have. I really believe that's a credit to Gus and his leadership."
Marrone walked away from his job as the Bills' coach following the 2014 season with a $4 million parting gift. He had interviewed for eight head-coaching jobs around the league since that time, only to be passed up for every one.
From the Jaguars' official announcment:
"Marrone, a veteran of 24 years in coaching, originally joined the Jaguars as the assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach on January 20, 2015, following a two-year stint as the head coach for the Buffalo Bills (2013-14).
"This season, Marrone’s offensive line has allowed just 30 sacks through Week 15, which is 11 fewer than at this point last season (41 sacks allowed through Week 15 in 2015) and 32 fewer than at this juncture in 2014 (62 sacks allowed though Week 15 in 2014)."
Marrone, 52, had a 15-17 record in two seasons with the Bills, including a 9-7 mark in 2014 that was the first winning year in Buffalo since 2004. Before his time with the Bills, Marrone was the coach at Syracuse for four seasons.
"I'll rely on the coordinators this week to make sure we put together the right plan and we prepare this team to go out there and win a football game on a short week," he said.
Marrone is expected to be a candidate for the permanent job, Caldwell told reporters, as is former Jaguars and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
The Jaguars' offense has been a problem all season, averaging 18.6 points per game, 27th in the NFL. That led to Bradley firing former offensive coordinator Greg Olson earlier in the year and promoting Nathaniel Hackett, who was the offensive coordinator for the Bills under Marrone.
Starting quarterback Blake Bortles has regressed in his third year, with 21 touchdown passes, but 16 interceptions.
Marrone said the team would not make a quarterback change.
"We firmly believe that Blake Bortles is our quarterback right now," Marrone said. "We are satisfied with that. The quarterback position, and you know this – when you win, they get too much of the credit, and I know it’s cliché, but when you lose they get a lot of the blame."