Inside The Bills

Why Ryan is sold on ‘D’ being better in ’16

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2016 – 7:58 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan came in with a lot of promises about his defense in 2015 and the end result with a ranking of 19th in the league did not meet the expectations. But what happened in the last two games of 2015 has him convinced it can be used as a springboard for this year’s defense.

Ryan, who has admitted more than once that he made a mistake in trying to blend the successful components of Jim Schwartz’s scheme in with his own last season, said he finally scrapped that idea completely in Week 16. What was witnessed were two of the better back-to-back defensive performances of the season, and it was done without five starters on defense. It has Ryan convinced the defense will be able to hit the ground running from the start in 2016.

“At the end of the year the thing I was encouraged about was we figured it out,” he said. “The communication part of it improved more than anything from coach to player and player to coach. I think that bodes so well for us moving forward. I’m excited about it.”

Ryan had been appealing to his players all of last season to come to him with honest feedback during games for what play calls they prefer over others based on what had happened in games. The players largely did not do so whether it was during the week of preparation or during games. It didn’t change until Week 16.

“They now know when I ask for feedback I mean that,” Ryan said. “I want that and when they finally did it we were a lot more effective. It’s my system, but its ours as a team and it’s theirs as players. We saw it late in the year and in the fourth quarter of the last game and I told them, ‘Here are our options what do you prefer?’ And a guy would say, ‘I like this one.’ And we went with it. That’s always worked best for me. Having the input from our players and the coaches.

“That’s what I’m really excited about taking off from there, from that point. Will there be some things we’ll tweak with the system? Of course. There are always ways you’re trying to get better, but we know we have to get better on defense, but I truly believe we will. Being together and going through the growing pains we did will benefit us going forward.”

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