Saints adding Alabama OL coach, former Jaguars coach Doug Marrone to offensive staff

Tasked to take the baton from Sean Payton and continue the Saints' prestige, new coach Dennis Allen is turning to an old colleague who helped build the foundation in New Orleans.

The Saints are hiring Alabama offensive line coach Doug Marrone for a key role on their offensive staff, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Marrone's responsibilities remain to be seen, but his vast experience makes him a candidate to work in several capacities.

In 2021, Marrone directed a unit that protected Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. His return to the NFL makes him the latest Nick Saban assistant to successfully parlay a term at Alabama into a bigger opportunity elsewhere. Marrone spent most of the past decade in the NFL, including four seasons as the Jaguars' head coach (2017-20). While he managed to get the best out of Blake Bortles and guide the club to an AFC title game, Jacksonville's offenses ranked in the bottom third of the league during the last three seasons of his tenure.

Marrone's first coaching stint in New Orleans was a different story. He served as Payton's first offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2006-08, directing units that ranked in the top 10 in all three seasons. That led to head coaching stops at Syracuse and the Bills. Much of Marrone's 30 years in coaching have centered on the offensive line, but he's also been responsible for tight ends.

He'll have his hands full in New Orleans, whatever his role proves to be. The Saints ranked No. 23 in offensive DVOA last year, and their starting quarterback for 2022 is unclear. Jameis Winston, who's rehabbing a torn ACL, and Trevor Siemian are free agents, while in-house options Taysom Hill and Ian Book don't appear to be long-term solutions after struggling in relief of the former No. 1 overall pick. Erratic QB play, coupled with a limited set of skill players, undermined the work of New Orleans' top-shelf offensive line.

But in Marrone, Allen looks to have one important piece of the offensive puzzle figured out.

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