City Sports Report

The Good And The Bad Of Rex Ryan In Buffalo

Rex Ryan is the new head coach of the Buffalo Bills. How will this work out? (photo via

Rex Ryan was one of the many coaches that was jettisoned after this season. The former New York Jets coach was sought after by a few teams after his firing. The Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills sought his services. But in the end, he chose to stay in the AFC East. The Buffalo Bills and Rex Ryan have reportedly agreed to a contact and Rex will be bringing his talents to Orchard Park, New York. Some out there love this pick while there are others that are not understanding it. But one thing is for sure, there are plenty of positives and negatives about his hiring in Buffalo.

Rex has long been a mastermind of defense in the NFL going back to his days as defensive coordinator of the Ravens back from 2005-2008. His schemes gave offensive coordinators fits back then and still did up until his time ended with the Jets. But one difference between Rex’s schemes and what is in Buffalo now is the style of defense. There are reports that Rex wants to keep Bills defensive coordinator and former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz around, but that selection in itself creates a culture clash. Jim Schwartz is known for his 4-3 defenses that lines up defensive ends in a “wide 9” technique, kind of like the defensive ends lining up in track stances. This alignment allows the Bills pass rushers to rush the passer and play the run on the way there. This style of defense allowed the Bills to be one of the best pass-rushing teams in the NFL this season. But even though this style was effective with Schwartz, this is not the style that Rex Ryan likes to run. Ryan likes to apply pressure like Schwartz, but he does it in a different way. Rex likes to use a 3-4 base defense and then maybe throw in a little 46 defense along with maybe some 4-3. Looking at the personnel the Bills have, this one may be an issue with the Bills. I believe they are better suited for the 4-3 they currently run, but we all know Rex’s expertise is on the defensive side of the ball. I can see both of these two trying to work together and make their ideas work, but ultimately they will butt heads. And in that case, the head coach will always win that battle. Both are good defensive minds, but the style difference will be something that could cause some disagreements.

Another issue with the hiring of Rex Ryan is the lack of a quarterback. Many have seen the offenses that Rex has had and the inability they had to put up points. Whether they have not had the weapons or simply could not execute, the results were ugly almost every single year. Heading to Buffalo, the Bills have some offensive talent there. The Bills have a ton of weapons in the passing game from wide receivers to tight ends and they also have a lot of choices at running back. But who is going to get them the ball? Kyle Orton was the starter for most of the season and he announced that he was retiring after the last game. Former first-round pick EJ Manuel was frowned upon by the previous regime, but could this new regime give him a chance to be the starter again? Questions are there at that position and until those are solved, there may not be much that can help the Bills make it to the playoffs. And to help lead this offense, Ryan is rumored to be bringing in former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Many fans in San Francisco loathed him for his play-calling and usage of players in his offense. But the one thing he does have is experience dealing with mobile quarterbacks. Before this season, he had done a decent job with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco trying to use his talents. Maybe he can help EJ Manuel based off his experiences with San Francisco. Another option for the Bills is to look around for a quarterback in free agency or via trade. Just like in New York, Rex has to solve the quarterback issue. And hopefully he will actually do it this time in Buffalo for his sake.

But with all the negatives of hiring Rex Ryan, there are definitely some positives in this equation. The Bills have always been known for having some talented defensive backs. And this crew that he has in Buffalo is no exception. Stephon Gilmore is a young and talented cornerback that could be a star for Rex defensively. Rex typically likes to have his cornerbacks play tight man-to-man coverage, and with Gilmore’s size (6’1”) and speed, he can definitely be one of those type of corners for Rex. And if Rex has that kind of corner, it makes his style of defense even better. And as far as the rest of the defense, Rex has a penchant for making players play better than what they are. No one can name any of the secondary players the Jets had this season, yet they were very effective. He can definitely do the same with the Bills secondary and it can be even said that he has more talent in his new secondary than he had all last season.

Another great thing for Rex is he can be himself when in Buffalo. The Buffalo organization is one that has had a good name in the NFL for a long time. But with the class that they have exhibited, they have lacked that bit of attitude they need to get them over the hump. Rex can instantly bring that type of nastiness and fire to a team that can benefit from it without a doubt. The fire Rex brings will help the Bills when it comes to big games. Rex may be known for being too brash, but there is no doubt that he instills confidence in his players and he also gives them the feeling he can carry them where they have never gone before. For example, the Jets were not even thought to be good enough to make it to the AFC Championship the years Rex took them. But with his defensive genius and infectious confidence, the Jets made it all the way there and almost made it to the Super Bowl. And if you look at the roster from top to bottom, the Bills have talent like that and then some. Rex could bring the swagger they need to get it going in Orchard Park.

For better or worse, Rex Ryan is now the man in charge in Buffalo. He stayed within the AFC East to potentially torment his former team. And heading forward, he could make the Bills a better team but he could also have some issues. Either way, it should be entertaining to see how everything works out in Buffalo for Rex. And Rex will definitely make the Bills more interesting than they already were.

For more sports conversation, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .


  1. Jason

    January 12, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I think it’s good for him to stay in the AFC East because of familiarity Plus Buffalo I think is almost there the issue of course being at qb…..I don’t know about Greg Roman but to each his own. Good article.

    • Mike Patton

      January 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Greg Roman being there tells me that EJ Manuel may not be done in Buffalo.

  2. ASR

    January 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I like the hiring of Rex Ryan, I do agree with the other person commenting EJ Manuel is done.

    • Mike Patton

      January 12, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      I don’t think EJ may be done yet. Maybe that’s why they brought in Roman as offensive coordinator.

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