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Inside The Bills

Ryan: I embraced the Buffalo community

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 6:00 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was making his way down radio row at the Super Bowl this week and shared what he thought may have helped him land the job with the Bills.

In an interview with Pro Football Talk Live, Ryan first expressed how fortunate he felt he was to land the head coaching job with Buffalo.

“I just realize how blessed I am to be given this opportunity. When I became a free agent I wanted to make sure I went to a team where I felt great support from ownership, GM, president and when I interviewed in Buffalo I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” said Ryan.

He was then asked what he thought vaulted him to the top of the list on Buffalo’s list of head coaching candidates.

“When you go in there I was just myself I just knew that they probably felt like I did,” said Ryan of the Pegulas. “I was so comfortable. I understand the vision they have for this organization. They want to win, but they also want to be great in everything they do. I think it helped that I embraced the community, because no one has embraced their community in ownership like the Pegulas so maybe that helped me.

“When I went there I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was blown away by them. I’m a football coach first, and I chose the best situation for me and I look at it as one more shot that I have and it has to work so I went to a spot where I believe it will work.”

 


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Rex comments on Bills QBs at Super Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 5:46 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was in radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday and it didn’t take long before he was asked about the quarterback position for his team. He was asked about both EJ Manuel and where the position is headed this offseason by CBS Sports.

Here was Ryan’s response to the question in his interview with CBS Sports.

“I think first off EJ Manuel is a young quarterback who is going into his third season. I think he can improve and he does some decent things,” said Ryan. “He doesn’t turn the ball over so that’s a positive. David Lee our quarterbacks coach is the best fundamentals coach I’ve been around as far as coaching QBs. So I think EJ can improve.

“But we’re in the early evaluation stages with our roster and free agency is around the corner. I don’t really know who is going to be the starting quarterback and we’ll explore every avenue in adding to that position. But it’s about everybody not just one man. Greg Roman is a great offensive coordinator. He went to three conference champ games he’s got a great track record. He does a lot of things creatively so we might not go three or four wide like they do in New England. I mean if you have Tom Brady go for it. But there are other ways of getting things accomplished and our quarterback will. I know he will.”

 


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Crossman on having a kickoff specialist

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 11:10 am

Bills special teams coordinator Danny Crossman had to break in a rookie punter and a kickoff specialist in 2014. On the whole both Colton Schmidt and Jordan Gay performed well for Buffalo. Whether Buffalo’s new head coach Rex Ryan feels a kickoff specialist is necessary is something that will likely be decided in the coming months.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, Crossman sounded like he wants to continue developing both young kickers on Buffalo’s roster, but he knows he doesn’t have the final say.

“We haven’t gotten that far yet in the evaluation stage,” said Crossman of keeping a kickoff specialist. “I’m a firm believer if a guy is outstanding at what they do they’ll find work. We were happy with both of those guys and what they were able to do for us. Jordan was a big help in an area where we were lacking a little bit in terms of what he was able to do on kickoffs. Number one touchbacks, but even the returns that did come out against us the drive starts average on the returns was so much better than the touchbacks because of the distance and the hang time and the coverage guys that we added and made it a strength for our special teams.

“There’s a lot of upside with (punter) Colton Schmidt too after he came in right at the start of the season this past year and performed well.”


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How Crossman was retained

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 11:06 am

Not long after Rex Ryan was hired as head coach of the Bills he made a phone call to current special teams coordinator Danny Crossman to see if he could retain him for his staff. Crossman was a guest of the John Murphy Show this week and explained how the interaction with coach Ryan went down.

“He called me and discussed the opportunity for me to stay and with the things that we’ve done and the players that we’ve added and the upswing we were on with the kicking game, I felt very fortunate to continue what we started,” said Crossman. “We’ve had conversations every other day or so, but very upbeat and very positive and really look forward to settling in and spending more time with him.”

Crossman also got a new assistant special teams coach in Eric Smith, who last played safety for the Jets a few seasons ago, and is described by head coach Rex Ryan as one of the smarter young football minds he’s come across.


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Thurman: ‘D’ can’t get bogged down in 3-4 or 4-3

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2015 – 10:54 am

While outside observers openly wonder what the foundation of Dennis Thurman’s defense will be for the Bills in 2015 under head coach Rex Ryan, most are assuming it’ll be predominantly a 3-4 front. Thurman warns that fans and others shouldn’t make such an assumption.

Ryan and Thurman consider their defense to be a hybrid, capable of morphing into a number of variations. It’s partly by design to create confusion and partly in response to the capabilities of the defensive personnel.

“It’s whatever our talent dictates,” said Thurman. “We’ll play a 3-4. We’ll play a 4-3. We’ll get in a 46 (defense). We’ll give them an odd front. It’s whatever our guys do best and we’re going to play to their strengths and when you do that, you’re giving your guys a chance to be successful and that’s what it really comes down to…is those guys that are out there on that field, are you giving them the opportunity to go out and succeed? So it doesn’t matter. The scheme will be dictated by the personnel that we have.”


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Dennis Thurman’s first meeting with Rex

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 4:28 pm

They did not know one another at all when Dennis Thurman was hired by Brian Billick to help him coach the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive assistant in 2002. But Thurman made a point to introduce himself to Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan.

“I had never met Rex, but I had played against his dad’s (Buddy Ryan) teams in Chicago,” said Thurman, who played almost his entire career with Dallas. “So when I met Rex I went into his office and I said, ‘I remember your dad’s team and they came into Texas Stadium and they beat us up like 44-0.’ We won the NFC East that year and went 10-6 and we thought we had a pretty good team. Then that Bears team came in and beat us 44-0 and I think that was the only time we got shut out when I played there at Texas Stadium. So I was telling him, ‘Wow your dad had a great defense.’ Rex said to me, ‘You haven’t seen anything yet.’”

Thurman was asked if the ’85 Bears defense was the best he had ever seen. Buffalo’s new defensive coordinator wouldn’t definitively say it, but he did say that in that 44-0 game that had the Cowboys QB been injured, he might’ve been called upon to step in and play quarterback.

“All I’m going to tell you is this: I don’t know where they rank that ’85 Bears team but during that game, if the quarterback had gotten hurt, I would’ve had to go in and play quarterback and I’m just glad I didn’t have to go into that game so I’ll just put it to you that way.”

Thurman was a defensive back and quarterback in high school in California.


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Palmer another asst. with young QB history

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 4:07 pm

One of the last assistants announced as part of Rex Ryan’s coaching staff has a lengthy resume when it comes to working with young quarterbacks.

Offensive assistant Chris Palmer has worked in the NFL since 1990 and has coached several quarterbacks early in their careers.

He coached Drew Bledsoe with the Patriots under Bill Parcells when they won the AFC title in 1996.

He coached Mark Brunell, though he was a vet at the time, to the AFC title game.

After serving as head coach for expansion Cleveland and Offensive coordinator for expansion Houston he worked with a young Eli Manning winning a Super Bowl in 2007.

He’s most recently served as OC of Tennessee 2011-2012.

Rex Ryan obviously sees a lot of football wisdom in Palmer and his experience with young quarterbacks can only help the team’s task of further developing EJ Manuel.


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Personnel dept. to meet with coaches this week

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 12:49 pm

With the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror and Rex Ryan’s coaching staff almost completely assembled the Bills personnel department will be sitting down with the new coaches to formulate plans concerning what needs to be added to upgrade the roster.

“We’re going to meet with the coaches this week and our roster and how we feel about it and how they feel about it and make some decisions on free agency as far as who we’re going to attack there,” said Monos in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “Draft-wise we’re always going to stick to the best player available offense or defense. Everybody knows how high we were ranked on defense this year, but that’s not going to mean that we wouldn’t take somebody that we think could help us.”

Rex Ryan met with the scouting staff in Mobile last week to apprise them of the type of players he wants for his roster.


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Jets’ Mangold on Ryan

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2015 – 10:33 am

Buffalobills.com is on the scene at the Pro Bowl in Glendale, Arizona this week as Senior Producer Mike Adamek caught up with Jets C Nick Mangold, who was on the New York Jets roster for all six years of Rex Ryan’s tenure as head coach. He commented on Ryan’s style as a head coach.

“Coach Ryan is a passionate guy, a fiery guy, a ball of excitement on the field every Sunday,” said Mangold. “One of the best things he does is he’s got the confidence of every guy in the locker room and what you want to do as a player is prove him right. He remembers that football is a game and it’s fun.”

Knowing Ryan is still in the AFC East, Mangold doesn’t want his former head coach having a whole lot of success.

“I wish him all the best, but I hope he doesn’t do too well,” he said.

 


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Whaley on scouts meeting with Rex

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 10:30 pm

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan met with the Bills personnel department in Mobile Tuesday evening. On Wednesday GM Doug Whaley provided an update on how things went in an interview on the John Murphy Show live in Mobile.

Whaley wanted the head coach to meet his scouts to help explain the type of players he needs for his team to be the best it can be. But Ryan made it very easy for Buffalo’s college scouts.

“He just said, ‘Get me people that love football and that are playmakers,’” said Whaley. “So that opens up the whole board for us and gets us really excited so we don’t have restrictions on the type of guys that we’re looking for.”

Whaley said Ryan’s personality is infectious and had the scouting department fired up when the meeting was over.

“No doubt about it. It’s contagious,” said Whaley of Ryan’s demeanor. “He’s got a personality that people gravitate to and you want to work for him and want him to succeed. For him to succeed he lays out the ground work and they’re easy to work with, like I said before, guys that love football and guys that can make plays. He doesn’t want to say, ‘Hey I want a specific guy, a 6-5 guy that runs 4.6.’ He said, ‘That’s great everybody wants that guy, but find me good football players.’”


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Harbaugh commends Bills on Ryan hire

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 7:57 am

harbaugh

Former San Francisco 49ers head coach, and current University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is pretty active on his Twitter account. On Wednesday morning he commended three NFL teams for their head coaching hires. One was the Bills.

Harbaugh not only congratulated the Bills on their hire of Ryan, but their offensive coordinator as well.

Roman most recently worked with Harbaugh for four seasons in San Francisco as his offensive coordinator.


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Buffalobills.com & JMS in Mobile

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 2:29 pm

Buffalobills.com and the John Murphy Show are again on location at the Senior Bowl this year in Mobile. Here’s some of the coverage you can expect Tuesday.

On camera interviews with new QBs coach David Lee and head coach Rex Ryan, who was taking in practice Tuesday in Mobile.

On the John Murphy Show tonight live from Mobile (7-9 pm), you’ll hear from head coach Rex Ryan as he discusses the value of being on hand for Senior Bowl practices and his plans for this evening as he meets Buffalo’s scouting department.

The aforementioned quarterbacks coach David Lee will also be stopping by as he talks EJ Manuel and Geno Smith from his previous coaching stop.

And Bills Roundup on all the action that took place with the North and South squads.

It’s all on Buffalobills.com this week and on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.

 


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Ryan: Want to work with EJ first

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 9:20 am

Bills fans would like Buffalo’s quarterback situation finalized yesterday. But with a new coaching staff coming in there’s some ground work that needs to be laid. New head coach Rex Ryan said as much over the holiday weekend.

In an interview with FOX Sports, Ryan was asked if he believes EJ Manuel is a franchise quarterback. Though Ryan has coached against Manuel, he doesn’t really know him as a player. He believes he can make a more astute judgment after working with the young QB on a daily basis.

“I think it’s too early to tell right now. We’re still in the evaluating stages of looking at our quarterback situation. I thought of EJ a lot when he was coming out,” Ryan said. “We’ll see first-hand when we get a chance to coach him. I’m excited about him though, I’ll tell you that much. Will we explore possible veteran free agents or draft picks out there? Absolutely. We’re going to explore everything to add competition because that makes your whole team better.”


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Rex comments on Jerry Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 9:16 am

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan hasn’t been shy at all about his excitement level for the defensive talent he inherits here in Buffalo. He also believes they’ll keep an important part of that defensive puzzle on the roster.

Impending free agent Jerry Hughes is a player that GM Doug Whaley has already said they want to keep in a Bills uniform for the foreseeable future. In an interview with FOX Sports, Ryan said he intends to see that plan come to fruition.

“I absolutely envision that,” said Ryan. “I think Jerry is an outstanding player. The last two years I’ve been against him and he’s tremendous. I hope he’s still a Buffalo Bill moving forward. Sometimes things happen where that might not be a possibility, but I believe he’s a great player and I hope he’s a Buffalo Bill for a long time.”

 


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Bills will try to bring Spiller back

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan expressed a desire to get C.J. Spiller back in the fold, knowing he can become a free agent this offseason. On Thursday GM Doug Whaley echoed that sentiment.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley was asked if he sees a place for Spiller in an offense that’s likely to be predicated on a power running game.

“We believe so and we’re going to try to do our darndest to get this guy in the fold and get him back,” said Whaley. “I’m sure he’s disappointed with how last year went with the injuries, but we want him to come back with us and get back to the form we know he can play at.”

In his one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, Ryan spoke of the friendship he’s developed with Spiller from their run-ins at Clemson, Spiller’s alma mater, where Ryan’s son currently plays football.

“I’ve met C.J. and obviously I have a great deal of respect for him having to try to stop him and things,” said Ryan. “One thing I think that he’s going to understand about me is I’m going to tell him what I believe to be the truth. All players seem to appreciate that.”


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Whaley’s instant connection with Ryan

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:25 pm

Bills owner Terry Pegula mentioned it in Wednesday’s press conference. GM Doug Whaley cut his teeth in the league in the Pittsburgh organization, a club that identifies with strong, tough defense and a consistent, powerful run game. Rex Ryan comes from a similar mindset from the days of coaching under his father Buddy Ryan. It’s why Whaley felt an instant connection with Ryan during the interview process.

Appearing in an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley explained how what Ryan laid out as his philosophy for successful football instantly appealed to him.

“It was just his philosophy about how to build a consistent team,” said Whaley. “A team that can consistently compete for championships. It’s just my philosophy as I’ve grown up in this business. It’s a philosophy of playing good defense, running the ball and being aggressive. And that helps everything especially your quarterback. That’s something that’s been a mainstay in his philosophy since he started going all the way back to his father. So right there we had an instant connection.”


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Kelly willing to provide input if wanted

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 1:58 pm

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly has a trained eye when it comes to offensive football. Knowing that side of the ball is in need of the most improvement in Buffalo, he’s willing to provide input if new head coach Rex Ryan wants it.

Kelly said as much following Ryan’s introductory press conference Wednesday, confirming that he’ll be meeting with owner Terry Pegula in the wake of his talk with Ryan Tuesday night.

“I’m not looking to do any coaching. I’m hopefully in a short time sitting down with Terry and talking with him,” said Kelly. “I’ve already talked to Rex about a few of my ideas. But right now he needs to settle in. He needs to understand who his staff is. Yeah I’d like to give my two cents where I feel it’s needed, whether it’s the quarterback position or the wide receiver position, two positions that I feel are my strong points.

“He’s putting his staff together, but I would love to sit down and say, ‘This is good, this is bad.’ I am an armchair quarterback, but I don’t look at the game like a typical fan does. I don’t follow the ball. I follow what receivers do if they’re being bumped. I follow what coverage it is. I follow when the linebackers are blitzing and rotating and where the quarterback should be looking. I look at the game completely different than your average fan. I look at it as a quarterback.

“If they want my input I’m here for them. But the bottom line Russ (Brandon) and Doug (Whaley) are doing a good job of getting this together. Then it comes down to how comfortable Rex feels.”


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Pegulas felt veteran coach was best fit

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 7:56 pm

Terry and Kim Pegula along with GM Doug Whaley and team President Russ Brandon went on a barnstorming tour to find a head coach. As they made their way through a dozen candidates it became clear what they felt they needed in a head coach for their team at this time.

“When we went through this process, we went into it open-minded,” said Terry Pegula. “We interviewed some bright, young coaches and some veteran coaches and Doug and Russ obviously had been through this before a few years ago. Like I said, when we meet the right guy, you’ll know it. When we finally talked to Rex and looked at that staff that he put together, I really don’t think that the Buffalo Bills at 9-7, and I really believe two plays away from possibly being 11-5, needed to have a young coach standing in their locker room.

“I thought we needed to go to somebody who’d done it before and if you look at the record of almost every coach like Rex just mentioned it, new coaches fail generally in their first job and I’m not saying that all the new coaches that are going to get hired are going to fail, but it’s more happening in that direction than it is for them to be successful.

“We just felt that he was our guy and trust me, we had some pretty impressive people that we felt could the Bills coach, but we said, ‘Hey, let’s go after Rex.’ Russ told me, ‘Don’t let him out of the building.'”


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Ryan’s pledge to Bills fans

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 7:47 pm

Rex Ryan talked about a lot of things at his introductory press conference on Wednesday. He also made some promises to Bills fans about the type of team they’ll be rooting for on his watch.

“I’m not going to let our fans down. I am not going to do that,” he said. “I know it’s been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs.  Well get ready, man, we’re going. We are going. And the guarantee, hey, am I guaranteeing a Super Bowl and all that? I’ll tell you what I will do; I will guarantee the pursuit of it. There is no question about that.

“Through work, through hard work, through preparation, and all that, we’re going to see how many teams match our work ethic, and all that. Because, as we look at it, we represent our community. The Buffalo Bills represent this community of Buffalo. We’re going to be tough. We’re going to be as loyal to our fans as they are to us. We are going to earn that loyalty and that trust, and one thing you’re going to see, come September, this team will be ready, period. And that’s it. That’s going to be my statement, that’s going to be my guarantee.”


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Kelly: We have to find out about EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 7:40 pm

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly is one that gives it to you straight. He’s also kept a keen eye on what goes on at One Bills Drive, particularly at the quarterback position. As we outlined on Buffalobills.com Rex Ryan understandably calls the QB picture unclear. With Kyle Orton retired other quarterback talent will be brought onto the roster to join EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel. Regardless of who is brought in, Kelly said the team has to get clarity on just what Manuel can be for the franchise.

“We need to find out if EJ is going to be the guy,” said Kelly. “I don’t care who you are, Don Shula, Marv Levy, Vince Lombardi if you don’t have a guy behind the center you’re not going anywhere period. If you look at all the teams that are in the playoffs now, look who is behind the center.

“Do I think EJ has a chance? I don’t know because of what he has learned when he was on the sidelines. How much he got out of being on the sidelines. Watching Kyle (Orton’s) positives and negatives of how he played. It’s an opportunity everybody is going to have, but that’s a position they definitely have to get solidified and find out who that person is going to be.”


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