Rex Ryan brought some excitement – and national attention – to Buffalo when he was hired during the offseason. In six seasons as the Jets’ head coach, the spotlight usually followed Ryan, that despite a less-than-stellar product his final four seasons.
Bill Parcells famously said during his coaching years that “you are what you are.” Parcells was referring to wins and losses, and how those ultimately defined a team.
So who is Rex Ryan? He is a below-average coach by Parcells’ standard. In six seasons leading the Jets, Ryan was 46-50 with two winning seasons (his first two), two .500 seasons, and two losing seasons.
Ryan was branded a defensive-minded coach from his years as a defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, and in five of his six seasons with the Jets, his teams finished among the top-eight in total defense. He even won two playoff games in each of his first two seasons as head coach eventually losing in the AFC Championship Game both years.
Still, the past four seasons were ones of steady regression.
Less than halfway through his first season with the Bills, that regression has increased markedly. Following a dominant opening-game win over Indianapolis, the Bills have trended toward the bottom of the NFL in total defense.
Coming off a year in which it led the NFL in sacks and was number four overall in total defense, Buffalo is currently 18th in total defense with nearly the same cast of players that were so dominant a year ago.
And the vaunted Bills pass rush that led the NFL with 54 sacks last year has but nine through six games this year – among the worst in the league.
The Bills are tops in the league in something: Penalties, and they have typically come at the most inopportune times.
The Bills have a league-high 62 infractions this year with a deficit of negative 200 yards in penalties assessed versus penalties accepted. In home games alone, the Bills have 50 assessed penalties, a number that would tie it for the most penalties in the league this season.
Ryan exudes confidence that has typically earned the unabashed support of his players. Ryan believes his teams are destined for success despite a track record that is mostly failure.
How many times do we have to hear Ryan explain a loss with verbiage that has often included “We (I) got outcoached.”
How many times have we ever heard an opposing coach say he was “outcoached” by Rex Ryan?
You can stop looking because you won’t find that quote anywhere.
When Ryan was fired by Jets ownership last season, he did not leave the next coach with the building blocks for success. Yet look at what has happened with the coaching turnover.
Todd Bowles replaced Ryan, and has the Jets’ offense currently ranked number eight (it was 22nd under Ryan last year), and the defense is now number one (it was 8th last year).
By contrast, the Bills’ offense under Ryan is a shade worse than last year, and we’ve already documented the precipitous decline in the defense.
The Bills have not made the NFL playoffs in 16 years, but it did bring some pizzazz to the city with the hiring of Rex Ryan. Ryan is still talking the same old talk, but unfortunately for Bills fans, he’s also walking the same walk.