By Justin LaDuca
This past month on Monday January 12th, the Buffalo Bills made a huge splash in the NFL offseason and hired Rex Ryan as their next head coach. Yes, this news is old. But this article is not an alert, it is a story on why I believe the hire was such a great move for this franchise. The name Rex Ryan itself is popular. Wherever Rex seerex-pizza-blogms to go, the media goes. The man might as well have a reality T.V show. Why is this such a great move for the Bills? Well, first off this hire brings Rex’s media to Western New York. For once in a loooooooong time the Buffalo Bills will have national spotlight because of Rex Ryan.
Already, I’ve seen Rex in the news various times since he’s been hired. Rex is a funny guy. A true character. He’s never afraid to run his mouth, talk smack and be bold. He has a swagger that Bills’ coaches have lacked since Lou Saban in the early 70s. Not to mention, Rex is a players coach. Guys love playing for him, which is a great quality. When the free agency comes around in March, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Buffalo bring in high quality players that love playing for Rex Ryan (Hint, hint, Darelle Revis). Hopefully.
In his first two seasons, Rex brought his New York Jets to the AFC Championship. The next four years however, were not that great. From 2011- 2014, Rex’s teams have finished with records of 8-8, 6-10, 8-8 and 4-12. They missed the playoffs in all four years. Ryan’s greatest strongpoint is his defensive scheme. In every year that he has coached, Ryan has had his defense finish in the top 10, except for on one occasion. In 2013 his defense finished at number 11 overall, still not bad. In his first three seasons his defense finished in the Top 5, including number one overall in 2009. I can only imagine what he can do, combining his defensive mastermind with the likes of players such as Mario Williams, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Williams and Kiko Alonso. They have enough talent to be the number one unit in the league. By the way, Rex said he expects to be the number one defense in 2015.
Rex will give this Bills team confidence. He even stated that he wants the Buffalo Bills to be a bully. I love that statement. Who doesn’t love an aggressive team with confidence? Ryan is the kind of guy that can motivate and rally his players. It is his second time around coaching, so he has learned a lot. Like Terry Pegula said, “most guys in their first job as a head coach fail”. I think this was one of the main reasons Buffalo targeted Ryan, because it would not be his first stint as a head coach.
The only drawback this team has is at the quarterback position. Buffalo needs to acquire a QB, whether it is by free agency or trade, to compete with EJ Manuel. I can honestly see this team signing Mark Sanchez in free agency, since he was Ryan’s starting quarterback for his first four seasons in New York. If Philadelphia is really, really serious in trading up for Marcus Mariota, I would be absolutely fine in a trade for Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles. However, I haven’t completely given up on EJ just yet. Keep in mind, the Bills have brought in new offensive coordinator Greg Roman from San Francisco. With the 49ers, Roman helped fix up quarterback Alex Smith and played a key role in the start up of Collin Kaepernick. EJ has the potential and is a very athletic quarterback. He has the arm and the mobility, he just needs the confidence. It will be an interesting offseason to see what this group will do.
As you can see, I am 100 percent on board with Rex Ryan. I believe this hire was one of the best moves this organization has made in years. It is his second time around as a head coach. He has learned from his mistakes and knows what it takes to turn this up-and-coming team into a contender.