May 20, 2024

The New Orleans Saints are confronted with a significant dilemma regarding their offensive line coach, Doug Marrone, as they continue their search for a new offensive coordinator. The impending hire not only has the challenge of addressing the team’s offensive line issues but also must decide whether to retain Marrone.

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While quarterback Derek Carr’s inconsistent performance in his first year with the team is acknowledged, a more pressing concern for the new coordinator is the urgent need to improve the offensive line, which ranked among the league’s worst last season. The departure of longtime offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, along with changes in the coaching staff, adds to the complexity of the situation. Notably, the team has retained Marrone and QB coach Ronald Curry, at least for now.

Marrone, 59, recently completed his second season in his second stint with the Saints, having previously served as the offensive coordinator in 2006. During his initial tenure, the Saints excelled in offensive yardage and passing production, achieving top rankings in both categories and securing a top-5 scoring offense twice. However, Marrone departed in 2009 to pursue head coaching positions at Syracuse University and later with the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Returning to the Saints in 2022, Marrone’s impact has been less positive, coinciding with the team’s offensive struggles following the retirement of quarterback Drew Brees. The rushing performance has declined, ranking near the bottom of the NFL in rushing average, and the pass protection has been subpar, leading to a high number of sacks on Saints quarterbacks.

One of the major criticisms against Marrone is the perceived lack of development among the team’s young linemen, including regression from key players like Cesar Ruiz and the disappointing performance of Trevor Penning, a 2022 first-round pick.

Considering these challenges, it is widely anticipated that the Saints will need to address their offensive line concerns in the upcoming draft. However, the immediate decision to either retain or replace Marrone as the offensive line coach is crucial for the team’s offseason planning and rebuilding efforts. This decision is identified as a pivotal issue for the Saints, the incoming coordinator, and potentially the entire team during the offseason.

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