On Saturday night, Nick Underhill of neworleans.football reported that the Saints dropped offensive line coach Doug Marrone. This follows Friday claims that the Saints will hire San Francisco 49ers passing game coach Klint Kubiak as their offensive coordinator following the Super Bowl.
Marrone, 59, completed his second season with the Saints. He spent three years as Sean Payton's first offensive coordinator in New Orleans in 2006. In those three seasons, the Saints led overall offensive yards and throwing productivity and twice had a top-5 scoring offense.
Marrone departed to coach Syracuse in 2009. He was Buffalo Bills head coach for two seasons after four years there. He became the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive line coach in 2014, but he was elevated to interim head coach in 2015 and full-time head coach in 2016.
For six seasons, Marrone led the Jaguars to the 2018 AFC Championship Game. After being fired in 2020, he became Alabama's offensive line coach. Alabama was 13-2 in 2021, losing only to Georgia in the SEC Championship and National Championship.
Dennis Allen, who replaced Sean Payton as head coach in 2022, welcomed Marrone back to New Orleans. Drew Brees' 2020 retirement has hurt the offense as a whole.
The Saints have averaged just 110 running yards per game since Marrone's return, ranking near the bottom of the NFL. Their 2023 3.6 per carry was 31st in the league. Pass protection, sometimes awful, has also slowed the offense.
Marrone sacked New Orleans quarterbacks 73 times in 34 games and put them under pressure. Injuries and the quarterback dallying contributed. When rival defenders used inside twists, stunts, and blitzes, the Saints were powerless.
The lack of growth from Marrone's young linemen was maybe their worst failing. Despite injuries and blocking concerns up front, fourth-round rookie Nick Saldiveri played only 18 offensive plays. A 2020 first-round selection, starting RG Cesar Ruiz, struggled in 2023 after showing promise the year before.
The worst performer has been 2022 first-round OT Trevor Penning. Penning was a starter this year after missing much of his first year with a foot ailment. Penning was benched after five games without improvement. Journeymen and career backups surpassed him on the depth chart after 13 snaps in the remaining 11 games.
After becoming offensive coordinator, Kubiak and the Saints must hire offensive line, WR, and RB coaches.