The Buffalo Bills took a chance on Syracuse coach Doug Marrone as their next head coach. Marrone, in turn, will take a chance on a 33-year-old, first-time NFL offensive coordinator who only has held entry-level positions at the pro level.
Tim Graham of The Buffalo News reported Tuesday that Nathaniel Hackett will be the Bills' offensive coordinator. Hackett was Marrone's offensive coordinator for two seasons after holding a variety of jobs for Syracuse in 2010.
Hackett, the son of Bill Walsh disciple Paul Hackett, was a quality control coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Bills from 2006 to 2009. Nathaniel Hackett oversaw a massive overhaul of the Syracuse offense this season, focusing on a stripped-down, no-huddle approach.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport passed along word that Hackett leaned heavily on the Bills' playbook from the 1990s with the famed K-Gun offense. That's largely what Hackett ran at Syracuse in 2011, and the Bills are expected to take the same approach, with New Orleans Saints principles mixed in.
Here's what agent Brian Ayrault said on Twitter (Ayrault represents outgoing Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib).
"The Bills just made a GREAT OC Hire!" Ayrault wrote. "Congrats to Nathaniel Hackett. Very innovative coach...the K-Gun is back in Buffalo!"
It sounds like we can expect an up-tempo style offense coming to the Bills. Marrone said he was looking for a defensive coordinator with "thorough NFL experience," but Hackett resembles something different. We like different. The Bills, who have made a point to publicly embrace analytics, could use a fresh approach. When you have lower revenues, different makes a lot of sense.
NFL schemes are like fashion trends. If you wait long enough, everything comes back in style. What is old is new again in Buffalo.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.