Rex Ryan Buffalo Bills Coaching Carousel Problems – NFL FootballTuesday, September 22, 2015 14:00
Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills mirror his New York Jets: undisciplined.
Oops, He Did It Again
Rex Ryan is the epitome of what is wrong with the NFL’s coaching carousel. Having had a modicum of success early on, Ryan will, at least for the foreseeable future, always land a head honcho gig. Front office suits will focus on those first couples years with the New York Jets, forget about his later shortcomings, and pick him as the “safe” bet over someone untried.
Don’t get me wrong, Ryan knows his Xs and Os, particularly on the defensive side of the ball from which he came up the coaching ranks. He has all the marks of a great defensive coordinator. But Ryan has no idea how to lead except in the most negative manner possible. And leadership is what separates a head coach from one of his lieutenants.
Ryan’s teams inherently lack undisciplined, as once again evidenced by the Buffalo Bills play Sunday against the New England Patriots. The attitude and swagger—unearned attitude and swagger—and the consequent stupid penalties may well as have been the New York Jets, redux. Two personal fouls on one play, three total penalties on another. The refs were calling the game close on both sides of the ball, but tightly called holding is one thing. The Patriots were nailed on legitimate on the field calls; the Jets on mindless extracurricular garbage.
Of course, his team’s lack of discipline mirrors his own. Ryan likes to shoot his mouth off (in the lead up to the Patriot game, the biggest sound bytes having to do with not knowing New England running back Dion Lewis’s name). It’s a rare coach—there have been a few—that can say whatever he wants to the media and not have his players adopt his attitude. Those coaches who could do so had already established tight-knit control of their teams, with their public personas intentionally set up as covers or smokescreens for that purpose.
But with Ryan, as with most, his players assume the attitude, if not verbally, on the field. Once the attitude starts, it’s tough to stop, so the swagger off the field materializes as undisciplined play on it. And there’s nothing those unwarranted types hate more than being unmasked, releasing a downward spiral of continued lack of control.
One only has to look to the other side of the ball on Sunday. Whatever else one can say about Bill Belichick, love him or hate him, his players buy into his system and toe the party line. Go off course and they are jettisoned. A perfect example is Dion Lewis’s response to being asked if Ryan’s comments motivated his strong performance. His response? “Winning motivates me.” Even if Ryan’s words gave him some extra oomph—hard to believe that they didn’t—he sure as heck was not going to admit it.
Hard to imagine one of Ryan’s players shrugging it off in the press, no matter what was going on in his mind.
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