The name of the new Buffalo Bills head coach may surprise a few people, even though the candidate’s name had been bandied about for days. But sure enough, the Bills today confirmed what the rumor mill had been grinding since the weekend: Rex Ryan is on his way upstate.
Ryan was fired just weeks ago by the New York Jets, along with general manager John Idzik. After multiple losing seasons and failed experiments with QBs Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and Michael Vick, Ryan’s failure to deliver regular playoff appearances led to his ouster.
Ryan was never known as an offensive-minded coach, so pinning his failure on his quarterbacks was somewhat predictable. Yet with a young EJ Manuel already in Buffalo and the Bills seemingly unclear in their QB of the future, Ryan could find himself in another nasty stew in just a few seasons. That is, unless he hires an outstanding offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Ryan reportedly signed a five-year deal worth $5.5 million per year. He will be officially announced as the new Buffalo Bills head coach on Wednesday.
The Buffalo Bills had been looking for a new head coach since Doug Marrone opted out of his contract at the end of 2014.
“Rex brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position that we feel will be a tremendous benefit to our players and the entire Bills organization,” said Bills owner Terry Pegula. “He was very impressive during the interview process, as were many of the candidates to which we spoke, and we feel Rex is the best fit for our team.”
The hiring of Ryan indicates how much attention Buffalo’s owners wanted their next coach to pay to defense. During Ryan’s time in New York, the Jets ranked first in the NFL in passing yards allowed (204.3), opponent completion percentage (55.7), opponent first downs (1,667) and yards allowed per defensive play (4.9). The Jets ranked second in total yards allowed per game (306.9).
Offensively they stunk. This season Ryan had the Jets try a different starting quarterback no fewer than three times, and that was after Mark Sanchez didn’t return following his “butt fumble” season.
Can one coach be faulted for an athlete’s individual errors? No. But he can certainly be faulted for setting a tenuous tone for the entire offense, which his quarterbacks exacerbated through poor execution. Ryan’s success in Buffalo will be determined in large part by how the next few weeks play out, and who he names as the Bills’ new offensive coordinator and QB coach.