Inside The Bills

Rex: Why Bills are further ahead this offseason

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2016 – 7:32 pm

Entering year two as head coach of the Bills, the offseason lead up to the draft for Rex Ryan hasn’t been nearly as taxing as last season when he was assembling his staff among other things in addition to the offseason responsibilities that tie in with free agency and the NFL draft. That’s why this offseason Ryan feels he and his staff are much further ahead, not only in their preparation for the draft, but with their whole offseason operation.

“It’s a lot easier this year than it was our first year trying to put in new schemes and coaching up coaches,” he said. “Here we’re ahead of the game that way. Still, it’s a process, but I get excited about it. I’m a fan of football. The bad thing about this is you’re going to see a ton of things that you like and you’re not going to be able to have them.”

Ryan is referencing all the talent on hand here at the NFL Combine with deep classes at defensive tackle and cornerback.

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Rex: Whaley reminds me of young Newsome

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2016 – 5:38 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was getting hit up for leads on the way the Bills might be leaning with their top pick at 19th overall. Ryan was honest with his answer knowing GM Doug Whaley’s approach to the draft each and every year. Whaley isn’t affected by positional needs his team has. He goes with the value the team’s draft board provides and takes the best player. That’s why Ryan sees a lot of Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome in Whaley.

“The thing about Doug Whaley and he showed it last year is he’s going to draft the best player for our football and he won’t force a need,” said Ryan. “If you go chase a guy and elevate a guy over other good football players that’s where mistakes are made. If you end up taking the best player that usually works out well for you. We did it in Baltimore for years under Ozzie Newsome.

“I compare Doug Whaley to really a young Ozzie Newsome the way he looks at players and things. So I think we’re in good hands and we’ll get a good football player regardless of a need area or not I’m confident we’ll end up with a really good player.”

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Radio host resigns in wake of panning Bills female hire

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2016 – 10:32 am

Cleveland sports radio host Kevin Kiley was not on the air this morning after announcing on a Cleveland TV station that he had actually submitted his resignation effective at the end of February back in November prior to his misogynist remarks on his radio show last month in which he called the Bills hiring of Kathryn Smith as quality control special teams coach.

Appearing on a local Cleveland TV station Thursday night Kiley explained that he will never be censored for his beliefs and opinions. He said he expected to work through the end of the month as his so called resignation indicated, despite claiming that it has been difficult to work at radio station WKRK.

“I’ll be ending I think at the end of the month maybe at the end of this show, we’ll find out,” said Kiley. “I have never been censored in 35 years and I should not have been censored for this. Demand the truth. We’ll see how they feel about the truth if I’m on the air (Friday morning) or not, if they appreciate the truth.”

Apparently WKRK felt differently as Kiley was not on the air this morning.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was asked about Kiley’s comments that hiring a female for a football coaching position was “absurd.” Ryan said his comments did not even deserve a response.

Kiley has previously said that no woman should be appointed as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selectors Committee or serve as an NFL official.

 


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Asst. DBs coach Ed Reed has Darby pumped

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2016 – 2:25 pm

One of Buffalo’s newest coaching staff additions has cornerback Ronald Darby pretty pumped up for the 2016 season.

At the Senior Bowl this week supporting his former high school teammate Tavon Young, a cornerback from Temple, Darby commented on the addition of Ed Reed to the coaching staff.

“Ed Reed-great player, a Hall of Fame type player,” said Darby. “A guy I looked up to. One of my favorite players. This is going to be great learning from him.”

Darby believes Reed will only help the secondary in getting more and more comfortable with Ryan’s defensive scheme, having played most of his career in it at Baltimore and then in his final season under Ryan with the Jets.

“We’ll have a lot of time to practice and get right for it,” said Darby.

 


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Fan Friday 1-22

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 12:07 pm

Some coaching hires for the staff the last week or so. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills What’s the biggest lesson learned between Wk1 and Wk16 defensively with this team?

vapor311

CB: I think the biggest lesson learned by the players was that if there was more accountability player to player on defense, there would’ve been unanimous buy in and the defense would’ve performed more consistently and been more effective in Ryan’s scheme. That didn’t happen until after the embarrassing defensive performance at Washington when the players that did buy in called out the players who didn’t. We saw improved collective play from the defensive unit after that.

I believe the biggest lesson learned by Rex and the coaches is just how multi-faceted a lot of their defensive talent is particularly some of their defensive linemen like Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes specifically. Dareus and Williams are athletic enough to play end in a 3-4 look and Hughes can be an end in a 4-3 look or an OLB in a 3-4. He’s that versatile.

There are other examples at LB and in the secondary, but Rex has expressed that a year with those players has provided him with a better grasp of everything that players like that can do, not just their primary strengths.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Here is my concern. It seems to make more sense for a coach to change their scheme to fit the players than change the roster to fit the scheme. Why has Rex Ryan, the great defensive mastermind who was figured out and canned in NY, been reluctant to implement a scheme where our star defensive line can pass rush like they have proven they are good at doing and rely upon a better cover based defense? We consistently get beat while trying to change in and out of “complex” blitz packages that always seem to come up short while letting the QB find a quick under or hot route. What should we expect for the future I’m so desperately trying to not give up on? Suddenly find myself hoping for a Sean Payton and Jim Schwartz led team and I can’t stand the coaching turnovers.. But I have to admit Ryan’s defensive scheme is old news…

-Losing faith in OR

CB: Rex took steps to try and mold his defensive scheme to the talent of the personnel. As mentioned above Ryan admitted that he is in a much better position to coach to some of the players’ versatile strengths now that he knows the depth of their talents having worked with them for a year. I know that’s small consolation in light of how the defense underachieved, but I don’t think it’s something that should be taken lightly.

Rex referenced Jerry Hughes specifically saying he now realizes that Hughes is so much more than a hand in the dirt type, rush the passer player. That he can do a number of different things well. He also said the big difference he noticed at the end of the season was that players were finally giving him answers when he asked for their opinion.

It was his contention that his offer to the players from the very beginning of the season to give him feedback fell on deaf ears until the last two games. Rex in making in-game adjustments would ask for the opinion of the players. Until the Dallas game he said those appeals were not met with answers and he couldn’t understand why.

Once he got some more input from players we saw the difference. Buffalo’s last two games were their best back-to-back defensive performances of the season in terms of points allowed (6 and 17). And that was without a handful of defensive starters (Darby, Gilmore, A. Williams, K. Williams, Bradham). So Ryan is encouraged that the proper give and take now exists between the players and himself and the value of that should not be discounted.

 

3 – Happy New Year Chris:

Do you think the Bills organization will make a play for Miami Dolphins Olivier Vernon?

Thanks from a true Bills fan in NewportNews, Va.
Gary Truesdale

CB: I would be surprised if the Bills pursued Olivier Vernon only because he’s going to command a sizable price tag and GM Doug Whaley has made it clear that they’re going to be pursuing “dust settle” type free agents. The focus this offseason will be for the Bills to re-sign their own, chiefly Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn.

Buffalo’s cap situation needs some restructuring this offseason before we reach free agency and Bills Senior VP of Football Administration, Jim Overdorf will be tasked with that as he has in the past. But knowing the priorities that Incognito and Glenn are combined with their cap situation I wouldn’t expect to see a top tier free agent like Vernon to be on the Bills radar.

 

4 – Chris,

Hypothetical of course.  Just what if, with all the defensive needs and offensive tackle needs, Laquon Treadwell and/or Connor Cook were available at pick 19?  How are we going to fill our need at receiver?  Not in free agency as per Whaley’s statement and later in the draft will not fill that need either.

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I do believe the Bills will make efforts to land a true No. 2 receiver that can draw attention away from Sammy Watkins. Robert Woods played more than half the season with a severe groin injury and might be best suited for the slot. Percy Harvin is a player the Bills would like to return to the fold, but has to get healthy first and is not a lock to return.
I know the Bills would like to add size to the position as evidenced by the reserve/future signings of Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin. But I don’t think they’re putting all their stock in those two wideouts.

Unfortunately this year’s receiver class doesn’t offer a lot of quality size. There are 6-1 and 6-2 guys aplenty, but the 6-4 and 6-5 targets of quality just don’t exist in this year’s class. I suppose there could be a prospect or two that could possess a ‘big receiver’ game because they play bigger than their listed size. I’ve still got homework to do on the 2016 draft class, but Treadwell would be a tempting option.

Personally I don’t think Connor Cook is worthy of a first-round pick. In a draft without a lot of elite QB talent I suppose it’s possible he’ll be moved up a lot of draft boards as the draft draws closer due to supply and demand, but Treadwell is a more worthy first-round pick to me than Cook. That being said I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills found better value at another position in round one.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills What are the fates of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes? Are they staying or leaving?

TandAFootball

CB: I feel good about the playing futures of Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes in Buffalo. I’ll actually have more on Kyle Williams in a story on Buffalobills.com slated for Monday. Hughes is a cornerstone piece for this defense moving forward, which is why he was signed to the long term contract extension last offseason.

Mario Williams situation is a lot more precarious, chiefly due to his cost-prohibitive contract. I think it would be difficult for any defensive player to live up to a contract that has a cap figure of almost $20M for 2016 ($19.9M). With Buffalo’s cap situation in a restrictive position right now, addressing Mario’s contract will probably be pretty high on Jim Overdorf’s to-do list.

There are a few paths they can take with it as we all know. What kind of steps Mario and his agent are willing to take is the big question.


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How Ed Reed decided to coach with the Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2016 – 12:07 pm

One of Buffalo’s newest coaching hires will be making his first foray into the coaching profession in 2016. But just how did nine-time Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed come to make the decision to join Rex Ryan’s coaching staff? He shared his decision making process on an appearance on Inside the NFL.

Reed said he received a phone call from Ryan a couple of weeks ago as his former head coach was trying to gauge his interest in coaching.

“I was making some turkey nachos with my son and the phone was ringing and I saw that it was Rex Ryan,” Reed said on Inside the NFL. “And he said, ‘Eddie Reed!’ And he said, ‘How would you like to come coach?’ And I said, ‘I wouldn’t mind it coach I’ll think about that.’ We were talking some football talk and I told him I’d get back to him.

“I had to talk to my son and his mother about the transition if I was going to take that job and how it would affect the family and everything. So he said he’d call me on the weekend. But he called me two days later to ask me what I was thinking. My son he wasn’t for it at first. He’s actually a Patriots fan. I was like, ‘Coach we’ve got to sell my son a little bit more. We’ve got to get him some gear.’”

Eventually everything worked out and Reed agreed to join Ryan’s staff as assistant defensive backs coach. And though this is Reed’s first official foray into professional coaching, Reed feels he’s performed in a coaching type role for several years now.

“You just have to be able to relate to guys and relate to players,” he said. “I’ve been running my football camp for 14 years coaching kids and trying to help kids out. I’ve mentored players on every level whether it’s high school, college or pro. I think I’ve already been a coach for that matter.

“Yes, it’s going to take some learning to be a coach. That’s the head coach’s job is to coach the coaches to coach the players. So I’m looking forward to learning, but at the same time I won’t forget the things I learned as a player.”

 


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Shady on difference between Rex and Chip

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2016 – 9:35 am

He’s now worked under both NFL head coaches. His parting with Chip Kelly and the Eagles shocked him, but it turned into a good situation for LeSean McCoy because he’s with a coach in Rex Ryan that runs his team the way McCoy believes it should be run.

In an appearance on NFL Network’s Total Access, McCoy outlined the differences in coaching styles between Rex Ryan and his former head coach Chip Kelly.

“Rex is a lot more laid back. He’s been with teams where the veterans kind of lead the team,” said McCoy. “He puts players in the position where the players are held more accountable. I think it should be like that. Andy Reid was like that. Guys have got to be accountable. This league, it’s a blessing to be in it and if you’re not accountable you won’t be here long.

“Chip Kelly is more of a coach that’s more hands on. There aren’t a lot of leaders on the team. He’s more of the leader. Then also his thing is how you approach the game. He has models for everything. With Rex for a big game he’ll just say you know how important this game is and I shouldn’t have to tell you to get in your playbook, to study. You shouldn’t be out late. You should be already mentally focused for this game. Chip would just be on you. He’d be telling you about the amount of sleep you need. They’re just different.”

For McCoy he believes that Ryan’s approach fosters more player leadership, which usually translates to players taking more ownership in how the team performs week to week. That finally began to take hold with the Bills heading into the final two games of the 2015 regular season.

“Rex definitely has that NFL approach. Let guys be veterans,” McCoy said. “He’s coached with guys like Ray Lewis and Bart Scott and Darrelle Revis who are guys that are leaders. So you let the veterans lead and you have your troops. Your soldiers will follow. I think Chip is kind of the opposite. He dictates how things are supposed to go and pushes the message like that.”

As for McCoy’s explanation as to why he was traded by Philadelphia, he has only a theory.

“I guess he thought that it’d be better if DeMarco (Murray) was there,” said McCoy of Kelly’s decision to trade him. “I can’t say how it came about, but that’s how it went down. Just being honest.”


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Whaley: Pegulas value continuity

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2016 – 4:35 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is less than a week removed from signing his contract extension with the Bills, but in his one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com he shed some light on the organization’s end of season meetings with ownership, President Russ Brandon and head coach Rex Ryan.

“We discussed how it was a disappointing season no doubt,” Whaley said. “Our ultimate goal is to win a championship. Now to win a championship you do have to get to the playoffs. The other thing that the Pegulas stressed to us, Rex, myself and Russ is to do that consistently you’ve got to have some continuity. And through their actions they’re proven that they want to have that continuity.”

Whaley said he remains in frequent contact, primarily with owner and CEO Terry Pegula about the day-to-day business of the team.

“Any time we make any type of roster move I’m on the phone with Terry right off the bat to keep them up to date on anything we do,” Whaley said. “Even if it’s an injury replacement on the practice squad. So I’m in constant communication with them on anything that impacts the roster. During the year we’ll have a Monday morning call with myself, the Pegulas, Russ (Brandon) and Rex (Ryan) and we’ll go over everything that went into the game plan before, during and after and results that came out of the game, especially injuries. We talk once or twice a week and during the season a lot more. In the offseason at least once or twice a week for sure.”

As for how his relationship with head coach Rex Ryan has grown and developed, Whaley believes their football philosophies run parallel and that they’re committed to the same end game.

“The one major reason I think we get along so well is we believe this whole thing we’re trying to do, even with the Pegulas and Russ Brandon, it’s not about us and individual acclaim and recognition, it’s about winning rings,” Whaley said. “When you have somebody that you can work with and you have the same goal and it doesn’t matter who gets the recognition that’s where the ease of our relationship comes in and I only think it’s going to get stronger.”


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Ryan serving as proud dad at title game

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2016 – 11:38 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan will be in the stands tonight at the National Championship game between Alabama and Clemson as his son Seth is a reserve receiver and holder for the undefeated Tigers. Appearing on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike show Monday, Ryan shared how his son came to decide on Clemson.

“The thing about (Clemson head coach) Dabo (Swinney) is when I was looking around for my son – I’ve gone all over the country and the one guy that jumped out at me was Dabo was he talked about his players like I talked about my players,” said Ryan. “And oh by the way he’s one heck of a football coach. I told my son to save one of his college visits for Clemson. I didn’t know Dabo Swinney, but when he went around to look at schools and things he obviously made the best decision he could possibly make.”

For Rex there was a secondary reason that he wanted Seth playing under a knowledgeable football coach.

“When you look at the programs (Nick) Saban was going to have (my son) walk on as well,” said Ryan. “The big thing for me was to have him learn football because my son wants to coach football and follow in the family tradition of being a football coach. So that was important to me so I wanted to make sure he could get that kind of knowledge and have a better opportunity than when I was going to school.”

As for tonight’s game, Ryan says he’ll be soaking it all in.

“It’s amazing because as a parent we all want our kids to be successful and hopefully a little better than us,” he said. “When you think of all the teams in the country and it’s come down to this. It’s going to be awesome as a dad.”

 


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Rex on hiring his brother Rob

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2016 – 11:32 am

The Bills made a notable addition to their coaching staff in the form of Rob Ryan, head coach Rex Ryan’s twin brother over the weekend. On Monday, Buffalo’s sideline boss commented on what adding his brother to the staff will mean for the Bills.

Appearing on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike show, Ryan believes their staff has gotten a lot better with his brother as Assistant head coach/Defense.

“That’s a huge thing,” said Rex Ryan. “We got better yesterday because we were able to get my brother. Football is such a passion for him nobody works harder than my brother. He’s as prepared as any coach in the league. So we got better yesterday.”


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Fan Friday 1-8

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2016 – 10:50 am

Into the offseason we go. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why did it take Rex so long to compromise his own defensive philosophy to fit the players?

LoretoB10

CB: In fairness to Rex Ryan, he recognized how married some of the players were to the previous scheme and tried to incorporate some of those concepts from last year into his scheme. By midseason he realized that wasn’t working and scrapped it to have the players focus only on his scheme.

Unfortunately there were players who refused to buy in, and Ryan’s scheme, or any other for that matter, doesn’t work unless all 11 players execute their assignments. Preston Brown addressed that when I asked him a few questions about it after the Washington game.

“Guys have got to buy into the system, especially on the defensive side,” said Brown. “We don’t really know how good we could’ve been because everybody wasn’t doing what they were supposed to do on each play. We can’t say it was the scheme or everybody is not playing with effort. Mentally everybody wasn’t there.

“We have to understand that everybody has to be working as one and we haven’t done that this year. Everybody has been kind of doing their own agenda on our side of the ball. So it’s something that we need to get covered and handle these last couple of games and years down the road.”

When I asked Preston why the defense had players being selfish and doing their own thing this was his response.

“I’m not sure. Everybody keeps saying last year we were a top four defense and everybody was still thinking about last year. We’ve got to get over that,” said Brown. “It’s not last year and guys were still thinking, ‘Oh we did this last year.’ Well we’re not doing that this year. So we’ve got to understand that we’re doing a different scheme and a different system and it works if everybody does it the right way.”

Complete buy in by the defensive players didn’t happen until the last two weeks of the season according to the players I spoke with and we saw good results over the final two games. So when the players tell me and media members that Rex is not at fault with what happened to the defense and that it’s on the players, I take them at their word.

For the record Rex tried to appeal to the players in different ways to get full buy-in knowing it wasn’t there. I wrote about that this week. But the bottom line, as Sammy Watkins said, is it’s on the players to take control of how players prepare, practice and play on game days. And if someone is being selfish or slacking they need to be called out by teammates.

That’s why Watkins and Brown stepped forward as leaders late this season. They don’t want to see what happened to their defense because of a couple of selfish players happen again.

 

2 – Chris,

I’m still trying to make sense of this season, as results have been significantly below expectations.  There have been too many games where the team has been unprepared, undisciplined, and let games get away from them that they should have won.

Why move up in the draft and give up so much in 1st round draft picks to select Sammy Watkins and not find a way to incorporate him more into the offense.  Other WRs Calvin Johnson, Beckham, Antonio Brown defenses focus on, and yet their Offense still get them the ball.  Why do they mainly use Sammy for only deep passes or screens that never seem to work.  How about running Sammy across the field like Andre Reed always did or the way the Patriots utilize Edelman and just have the QB lead him on a pass as he runs a short crossing route and then takes off?

CB: The main reason why Watkins wasn’t made more of a focal point of the offense was two-fold. First, Buffalo was committed to being a run-first attack. Second, offensive coordinator Greg Roman has said they wanted to bring Tyrod Taylor along steadily to see how much he could capably handle on a week to week basis. They were trying to help him progress while limiting setbacks and gradually gave him more rope as the season wore on.

Once they felt comfortable that Taylor could handle more you saw the deep passing game flourish. Since the bye week only two other receivers had more yardage than Watkins 900 in the last nine games. They were Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. For a first-year offense with a first-year quarterback you have to walk before you can run, and rely on the run before you rely more on the pass

Under Roman’s guidance the Bills did that. It probably would’ve been effective enough to reach the postseason had the defense not taken a step back. I think moving forward Watkins will continue to be a dominant weapon as the rapport between him and Taylor continues to develop.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills how long of contract terms are Glenn and Richie looking at receiving and possibly getting?

Brady_P

CB: Glenn is the one who will be cashing in with a long-term deal. At age 26 he’s entering the prime of his career, so a long term deal would make sense and he plays at a position that commands more pay in terms of average salary. Incognito is 32-years old, so I’d be surprised to see anything more than a three-year contract. Probably a two-year deal with a team option for a third.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Given that releasing EJ Manuel would save no money & leave the team with dead money, can you see any upside to releasing him?

cdevaney

CB: The question here with EJ Manuel is can you do better at backup quarterback than EJ?  If the front office feels the answer is yes, Manuel’s dead money on the cap of a little over $2.8M is not crippling with the cap likely to be up around $153M for 2016.

So when money doesn’t impact the decision GM Doug Whaley largely lets the performance on the field determine make the call.

It’s my belief that the Bills will add a backup quarterback prospect from the draft. Someone they feel they can develop behind Tyrod Taylor. Is it likely such a prospect would be more NFL ready than Manuel? No.

So it’s possible they keep Manuel on the roster until they see more of whatever quarterback they draft or add looks in their offense. But it wouldn’t shock me if the organization decides to turn the page.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills what is the outlook for the Bills to receive a compensatory draft pick this year? #fanfriday

lophus89

CB: Taking a more in depth look at things with some help from the front office as to who qualifies as a free agent addition and a free agent loss (the rules are endless) the Bills may be entitled to one compensatory pick this year.

The Bills added – Alex Carrington, Jerome Felton and Tyrod Taylor (Charles Clay – transition player???)
The Bills lost – Erik Pears, Da’Norris Searcy, Lee Smith and C.J. Spiller

Harvin and Incognito were not unrestricted free agents because they had contracts that were terminated. And Clay will be argued by the Bills as someone who should not count because he was a transition player. We’ll see if the league disagrees because there is precedent with transition players counting toward the free agent add count, but if not the Bills should get one compensatory pick this year.

 


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Report: Bills RBs coach Lynn to interview for Miami job

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2016 – 2:20 pm

The Miami Dolphins have a vacant head coaching post and one of Buffalo’s assistant coaches will reportedly interview for the position.

Bills Assistant HC/RBs coach Anthony Lynn will interview for the Dolphins head coaching post according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport

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Bills head coach Rex Ryan said just last week that Lynn is a worthy head coaching candidate.


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Rex pledges to curb bold statements

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2015 – 3:08 pm

Rex Ryan had expectations as big as every Bills fan for this season, if not bigger. That’s why when he talked about going to the playoffs he genuinely believed it. Now in hindsight, seeing how his words led to criticism for his team which did not meet those expectations, Ryan will be changing his approach.

When asked about what he learned in his first year as head coach of the Bills, Ryan referenced his promises on how his team would perform.

“The biggest thing, obviously, I wish I wouldn’t have said some stupid things that I said. Y’know, I get it. That’s just me. You see the impact it has,” said Ryan. “My heart was in the right place, I thought I was telling the truth.  But at the same time, it’s like, ehhh.  I never look at it as what if this doesn’t go exactly the way I expect it to go? Well, I’m seeing right now.”

When asked for a specific comment he made that was ill advised, Ryan pointed to his introductory press conference.

“I just think, when I said, ‘Hey, we’re going to be in the playoffs.’ I just honestly 100-percent believed that. I absolutely did. Without question.”

What bothers him almost as much as falling short of those expectations is the criticism his players endured for not fulfilling that promise.

“It’s not the criticism I take, it’s the criticism our team takes that bothers me,” he said. “These guys play hard, man, and they prepare. It just hasn’t gone right. It hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to go. I’m the guy that should be criticized, that’s fine. But when it goes over into the team, that way, our fans, they’re frustrated. They believed like I did. I love the fact that they believed in me. There’s no question about that. I feel bad that I didn’t deliver. That’s how I look at it.”

Ryan then admitted he’s likely to change his approach when it comes to making bold statements even though he won’t change who he is as a coach and person.

Probably so,” he said. “You look at the impact your words have in a negative light then, yeah, I guess so. Finally I’ll learn from it. But I look at it as I’ve got to be myself, who I am as a person. The fans get a true idea-if there’s a negative thing, a criticism or whatever, I’d rather it be about that than being so tight-lipped that nothing truthful comes out of this building. I’d rather them see an honest picture of who we are. And I’m proud of who we are.

“Is it perfect? Nope. Certainly not. But that part of it, I’m never going to change. The part about making the boasts and all that—as bad as I truly believe it, maybe I’ve learned that , ehh-maybe it’s not the smartest thing to do.”


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Darby limited Wednesday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2015 – 2:24 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan is hopeful that Ronald Darby will be able to return from a groin injury after missing last week’s game. On Wednesday he was a limited participant in practice.

“We’ll see how he progresses during the week,” said Ryan. “I hope he can play. I know how competitive he is, and going up against great players like Decker and Brandon Marshall—from a competitive standpoint you want to put yourself against the best—he’d love to do that. We all know that about Darby.”

Knowing how productive the Jets passing game has been over the last month and a half Buffalo would like to have as many of their corners available as possible, especially their best one still on the roster.

How much Darby participates on Thursday will go a long way in determining his likelihood of playing Sunday after seeing some action Wednesday. Here’s the rest of Buffalo’s injury report from Wednesday

DID NOT PRACTICE
RB LeSean McCoy – knee
S Bacarri Rambo – knee/shoulder
G John Miller – ankle

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
QB Tyrod Taylor – right shoulder
LB Nigel Bradham – ankle
DT Marcell Dareus – neck
CB Ronald Darby – groin
DE Mario Williams – hand

 


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Whaley: Defense will be a focus in offseason

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2015 – 11:56 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley couldn’t deny that the defense did take a step back this season in its first season under head coach Rex Ryan. Whaley acknowledged that improving the defensive side of the ball will be a focus this coming offseason, but he’s confident that Ryan, his defensive staff and the personnel will be able to improve the performance of the defense in 2016.

“Defensively we did take a step back,” Whaley said in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “We expected there to be a transition, but we didn’t expect there would be a drop off based on our history of our defense and Rex’s history of coaching defense we didn’t expect a drop off like that. So we’ll make a concerted effort to fix in the offseason just like last year. We made a concerted effort to make the offense better and we accomplished that goal.”

When asked why the defense took a step back this season, Whaley pointed to a few key things.

“There was a lack of consistency there and that goes along with changing parts due to injuries and getting adapted to the scheme,” he said. “I think it was a combination of Rex trying to tweak a little bit from what he normally does to fit our personnel and our personnel trying to fit what they used to do to what Rex does. So that contributes to the lack of consistency and again the injuries with Aaron Williams, Kyle Williams and Nigel Bradham. So you had young guys in there that are trying to adapt to this as well.

“At times you saw we showed we can be a pretty good defense, but the lack of consistency really killed us. That will be a major emphasis in the offseason is to be as consistent as possible.”

Whaley understands the fan frustration with the disappointing performance of the defense this season, but he’s resolute in his belief that it will be better in 2016 for a host of reasons.

“If you look at it in totality you have a head coach that’s been a defensive coordinator or a head coach for 11-plus years and this is only the second time his defense is not ranked in the top 10 and the other time he was 11th,” said Whaley. “So if you look at it analytically or look at the percentages he’s not going to be a bad coach. He’s going to improve that defense. So we have the basis to take a step forward. If you take that 16 years off of it and look at a first-year coach, first year ownership and first year quarterback I think we’ve got something to build on.

“I think it’s just a combination of those guys getting more comfortable with the scheme that is really complicated and bringing in some parts that fit a little better.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: It’s all good with Rex & ownership

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2015 – 11:15 am

Despite reports to the contrary last week, Bills GM Doug Whaley gave firm indication that he is on solid footing with head coach Rex Ryan and has the faith of owners Terry and Kim Pegula.

Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday, Whaley said the reports that were out there last week about friction with Ryan and an uncertain future with ownership were very misguided.

“Ownership has been great. My relationship with Rex Ryan is something that I cherish,” Whaley said. “I wake up every day happy to come in and work with him. My future, ownership doesn’t have to tell me anything. I’ve always attacked my job with the mindset of let me do my job not to lose it, but to keep it and keep getting better. So until the ownership tells me I’m here for the long haul and get this team where we need to go.”

Later in the interview Whaley praised the approach of the Pegulas in terms of how they facilitate the job he has to do as general manager.

“Their thoughts are turning to what do we need to get better this week? And then after this week what do we need to get better from the top down going forward,” Whaley said of the Pegulas. “So they’re always looking at what they can do to help us get better and what they need to do as owners to get better. That’s their philosophy and outlook they’ve conveyed to us every time we’ve met. When your ownership comes to you and asks what else they can do to help us do your job better, that’s a perfect scenario and the closest thing you can get to utopia in this league.”


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Rex gets sense Harvin wants to play in 2016

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2015 – 2:54 pm

There were a myriad of reports just before midseason that Percy Harvin, who was ultimately placed on injured reserve by the Bills, that the 27-year old receiver was considering retirement. Bills head coach Rex Ryan has maintained contact with Harvin and said Monday he gets the sense that Harvin intends to continue his playing career.

“I’ve talked to him a couple of times, but just texts back and forth,” said Ryan. “I think I’ve talked to him once and I’ve texted him a few times. More about a personal variety than about where he is on the injury front. I get the sense he wants to play. He had the surgery because he wants to play.”

Ryan did disclose the nature of Harvin’s surgery, but he had been dealing with a persistent hip injury. Harvin tried everything from platelet rich plasma injections to sitting out every Wednesday practice. He appeared in five games this season.


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Taylor’s rushing exploits a balancing act

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2015 – 2:45 pm

It was 3rd-and-6 at the Bills own 12-yard line and three of Buffalo’s last four possessions had not gone more than four plays. The Bills were clinging to a three-point lead (9-6). Tyrod Taylor finding no one open on a pass play bobbed and weaved his way through three defensive linemen and out ran another to reach the first down marker to keep the drive alive. As head coach Rex Ryan said it was a crucial play that helped them win the game, as the Bills would go on to score the game-clinching touchdown six plays later, but there’s a balance that Taylor must strike to preserve his body for the long haul.

Taylor has taken some monster shots this season. One led to a sprained MCL that forced him to miss two games. He again took some hard shots Sunday against the Cowboys, but dismissed the theory that he’s taking too much of a beating.

“It’s part of my game. Yes, I can get better at getting down sometimes and that’s something I’ll work on,” said Taylor. “Learning how to get down and protect my body more. Like I said it’s part of my game. I don’t play scared and I’m a tough guy so I can take those hits.”

Rex Ryan said he intends to have a face-to-face talk with Taylor about his quarterback being more mindful of getting down when defenders are closing in on him.

“I think we’ve got to balance that and Tyrod does take off for it and run for first downs and he’s got to protect himself too,” said Ryan. “If there’s anything that we can do it’s to get him to really to where you’ve got to protect yourself. That’s running out of bounds, sliding and all that. There are times where he wanted, you can tell, the competitor in him, he’s going to try to get the first down. He’s more valuable to us than that. I think he needs to understand that and I need to tell him.”

Ryan said it will have to be a balancing act moving forward on when Taylor must decide to run out of bounds or slide to preserve his body for the full 16-game season.

“We don’t want our quarterback to be our leading ball carrier. We get that, but at the same time you don’t want to limit him too much to where he’s not a threat to carry the football. You never want to take that out of his game. That will take away from some of the special things that he can do,” Ryan said. “I know how hard it is to defend against a running quarterback. I think you always want to have that ability, albeit we don’t want to run him as much as we ran him yesterday.

“We want him to be the long term solution at the spot so he’s got to learn to protect himself and understand that we need him to be that.”


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Clay unlikely for Sunday, McCoy a question mark

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2015 – 2:35 pm

Tight end Charles Clay has missed each of the last two games with a back injury, and head coach Rex Ryan isn’t optimistic that Clay will be able to suit up for Buffalo’s season finale. The status for RB LeSean McCoy isn’t much better as he is very much a question mark for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

“I don’t expect Charles Clay to play this week with that back,” said Ryan. “Shady… with LeSean I’m not sure. We’ll see how that goes during the week, but if it’s going to be one of these things that limit then we’ll err on the side of caution.”

McCoy did not play in Sunday’s win over Dallas.


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Dareus had pinched nerve

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2015 – 2:33 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan shed some light on the injury that forced DT Marcell Dareus from Sunday’s game.

It was initially called a shoulder injury, then changed to a neck. On Monday Ryan explained that Dareus had sustained a pinched nerve.

“Marcell had a pinched nerve, or stinger or whatever, but it was longer than that,” said Ryan. “We’re hoping to get him back. We hope to get him back.”

Normally with stingers there is only temporary numbness and not more than a minute or two later feeling comes back. That numbness apparently lasted longer than normal for Dareus, which is why the team did not return him to Sunday’s game against Dallas.

“Without question it’s scary, but it is a pinched nerve, so the feeling has come back,” said Ryan. “Usually we call them stingers or burners or whatever. We’ve probably all had them. Your arm goes numb for a little bit and then the feeling comes back, but that wasn’t the case. I think it was a concern, but after the game he was like, ‘Oh I’m playing (next Sunday).’ But we’ll see.”


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