Bills' Marrone feels he's 'best person for job'


Bills' Marrone feels he's 'best person for job'

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) It's been such a whirlwind of a week for Doug Marrone - from a bowl game at Yankee Stadium to NFL interviews in Arizona - that it was difficult for the Buffalo Bills new coach to get his bearings on Monday.

All that mattered was that he ended up in the state of New York, a place where the Bronx-born Marrone has always felt at home: Be it playing and then coaching at Syracuse, and now getting his first NFL head-coaching shot in Buffalo.

``I had some opportunities to make a choice, and I've chosen to be here,'' Marrone said, shortly after being introduced as the 16th coach in the Bills' 53-year history. ``You have to be at the place where you're most comfortable, and I'm most comfortable here in western New York.''

Capped by a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28, Marrone went 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse. He was credited for reviving a program that had gone 26-57 in its previous seven seasons.

In Buffalo, the 48-year-old Marrone takes over a week after Chan Gailey was fired following three consecutive losing seasons.

Marrone becomes the Bills' fifth coach in 12 years, and inherits a franchise that newly promoted team president Russ Brandon described as having a ``tarnished'' reputation.

``We wanted to identify top talent to lead this organization to where all of our fans and stakeholders deserve to be, and that's back to a championship contender,'' Brandon said. ``And we believe we just did that.''

Marrone was the second of only five candidates Buffalo interviewed over a four-day span in Arizona as part of what Brandon vowed would be an ``exhaustive'' search.

Brandon described the search as being ``thorough'' and ``exhilarating,'' noting the Bills met with Marrone four times before identifying him as their candidate on Saturday.

General manager Buddy Nix went further in saying the Bills didn't have time to waste or risk missing out on Marrone.

``We could have gone another day, and we would have been starting over,'' Nix said. ``We knew the guy we wanted when we interviewed him. And there he is. So why go further?''

Marrone also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns, and was also linked as a potential candidate for job openings in Philadelphia and San Diego.

Marrone's challenge in Buffalo is turning around a team whose 13-season playoff drought is the NFL's longest active streak, and a team that's not had a winning record since 2004, when it finished 9-7.

``I'm not going to talk about the coaches that were before me, and I don't know what their philosophy was. But I do understand the responsibility that I have,'' Marrone said. ``I'm excited about this. I've done this before. I've been in this league as a player, been here as a coach. I've gone through this change. And I'm excited to work with the players in this change.''

Described as a no-nonsense disciplinarian, Marrone returns to the NFL where the former offensive lineman spent two seasons as a player, and seven more as an assistant. He was an offensive line coach with the New York Jets from 2002-05. He then served as the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator from 2006-08, where his arrival coincided with the team signing star quarterback Drew Brees.

The Bills also interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

The Bills were scheduled to meet with Mike McCoy in Denver on Saturday, but the Broncos offensive coordinator postponed the interview.

Marrone has had little time to enjoy a 38-14 victory over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl, which he called his ``greatest win.'' On Dec. 31, after driving home, he attended the men's basketball game in which the Orange beat Central Connecticut, 96-62. He celebrated new year's eve at Orange coach Jim Boeheim's home. Soon after, his phone started ringing with news about potential job offers.

As a result, Marrone on Monday was short on answers when it came to his vision regarding the Bills.

He said he'd have to begin looking at film before determining the status of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's future in Buffalo is in question. Nix has already said he intends to improve the position in the draft and potentially in free agency. Fitzpatrick is also due a $3 million bonus in March from the six-year, $59 million contract extension he signed in October 2011.

It was too early to ask Marrone about who he might hire as assistants. He would only say he's looking for coaches with NFL experience to fill his two coordinators' jobs.

Same thing about how Marrone intends to improve a high-priced but underachieving defense that was one of the NFL's worst during Gailey's three seasons.

``I'm excited to get back to work soon,'' Marrone said. ``It's a lot of responsibility. I feel I'm the best person for this job.''


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Capitals vs. Islanders: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals vs. Islanders: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Making his return to Capital One Arena, Barry Trotz will lead his New York Islanders against the Washington Capitals. 

It will be the first time Trotz sees the Stanley Cup banner in person and the second time that he will go at odds with his former team. 

But as things stand for both teams, they are going in opposite directions. The Isles are one of the hottest teams in the league, winners of 12 of their last 16 contests.  Washington quite possibly has hit their post-Stanley Cup hangover, and is 4-4-2 in their last 10. 

These two teams met up earlier this season and they already gave Trotz his ring, but the Caps got the victory. With the way the two teams are trending right now in the Metro division, Trotz may get his revenge. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Friday night game, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders Game 47 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Islanders game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Islanders on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM


6:30 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:30 PM: Capitals vs. Islanders
10:00 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live
11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live


Capitals: Christian Djoos (leg, Injured Reserve)

Islanders: Thomas Hickey (upper body, day-to-day), Andrew Ladd (lower body, Injured Reserve)


Braden Holtby, G, Capitals (17-10-2, 2.80 GAA): Holtby missed the past two games for Caps due to an eye injury he suffered on Jan. 12 against Columbus. His status is still up in the air for this matchup, but in the past 150+ minutes (2.5 games) without Holtby the team has allowed 12 goals.

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (33 G, 19 A, 52 Pts): As much as the defense has struggled, so has the offense. Four goals in the past three games is all the Caps can muster, with one of the four coming off of the stick of Ovechkin. He has not been the reason for the lack of the offense, but Ovi needs to get them out of the funk. 

Robin Lehner, G, Islanders (13-7-3, 2.16 GAA): Dominating is all that Lehner has been doing for the Isles as of late and is a huge part of their comeback. When he's made it on the ice, the team has won nine of their last 10. His GAA is tops in the NHL and his save percentage (.928) is second. Not a good recipe for a Caps team that has trouble finding the net. 


Number of all-time Meetings: 252 (37 postseason)

All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead 124-115-13

Regular Season Record: Capitals lead 108-94-13

Playoff Record: Islanders lead 21-16

Last Meeting: Caps win 4-1 OT (11/26/18)

Last 10: Capitals lead 6-4


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Wizards show toughness, resiliency in crazy comeback win over Knicks in London

Wizards show toughness, resiliency in crazy comeback win over Knicks in London

The Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 101-100 in London on Thursday afternoon. Here are five observations from the game...

1. The Wizards' trip to London, England as global ambassadors for the NBA was close to being remembered for a disaster of a game. They came out sluggish and trailed by as many as 19 points to a Knicks team they had won 17 of 19 against entering the day.

But the Wizards once again showed resilience, as they have so often lately despite missing key players due to injury. They locked down on defense to allow only 11 points in the fourth quarter and that helped them overcome a 12-point hole entering the final frame, their largest deficit after three quarters in a win since the 2016-17 season.

Late-game defense proved the difference, but it was a key play in the final seconds that sealed the victory. Down one, Thomas Bryant drew a goaltending on Allonzo Trier with 0.4 seconds left to put the Wizards ahead for good.

The play nearly failed as Bradley Beal slipped around halfcourt. But he got the ball to Bryant, who was cutting through the lane and Trier made a mistake trying to save the game.

The Wizards, of course, will not complain. They now head back to the States having won six of their last nine.

2. Beal ended up with 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, but this was another game where he started slow and heated up late. He began the game 1-for-7 and shot just 10-for-29 (34.5%) overall.

Beal continues to show an ability to adjust midgame to counter defenses. And much like Sunday's loss against the Raptors, he began by missing outside shots, switched to attacking the rim and then everything else fell into place.

3. Three-point defense has been an issue for the Wizards all season, even after the acquisition of Trevor Ariza, and it was once again a problem in this one. The Knicks, who entered the game ranked 22nd among 30 teams in three-point percentage (34.4), got hot early from long range.

The Knicks made nine threes in the first half, nearly what they average for full games this season (10.2), and on 18 attempts. They finished 12-for-29, good for 41.4  percent. No one killed them more than Luke Kornet, who went 4-for-6.

The Wizards may have underestimated the Knicks' ability to shoot, as some of their early looks were uncontested. By the time the Wizards woke up and made closing out a priority, several Knicks players had found a rhythm and kept knocking them down despite good defense.

The Wizards, though, did hold New York to 3-for-11 from three in the second half.

4. It took until midway through the third quarter, but Troy Brown Jr. again got some run. That is now two straight games where head coach Scott Brooks has turned to Brown for a spark when he needed it.

Brown once again was impressive. He made some nice passes, including a no-look dime to Sam Dekker for an easy slam. He even had his first career poster-dunk:

Much of the criticism from fans and others who didn't like the Wizards taking Brown at 15th overall centered around his perceived lack of athleticism and low ceiling on offense. But he can get up high enough to make plays like that.

5. This game was always going to have extra importance for the players from Europe like Tomas Satoransky and Ian Mahinmi, who each had a host of friends and family in attendance. Satoransky, in particular, rose to the occasion.

The Wizards guard had one of his most efficient games of the season. He had 14 points in 30 minutes on 6-for-8 from the field. He dished five assists and added two steals and a block.

The Knicks had major trouble staying in front of Satoransky, who drove into the lane with ease. He made a series of plays in the lane including a putback slam and a nice up-and-under move around Kevin Knox. It was a post move you don't often see from guards, the type of three-step combination Ben Simmons has made a living off of.

Satoransky has a lot of potential in posting up smaller guards. He's 6-foot-7 and has nice touch around the rim. That move may have been a glimpse of more to come as Satoransky continues to develop his offensive game.

Satoransky, though, didn't play much down the stretch. As the Wizards gained momentum, especially on defense, Brooks went away from Satoransky to roll with what was working.