Expectations for the Buffalo Bills were sky high in August. National NFL and media observers had them going to the playoffs, some the Super Bowl. The hype was because of Rex Ryan’s hire, the returning group of players and key additions like LeSean McCoy. Now the current team is in danger of finishing below last year’s squad coached by Doug Marrone. What happened?

For starters it seems obvious to me that Rex Ryan talks a better game than he coaches. Time and time again this season we have watched his defense and his team come unraveled, take dumb penalties or miss key assignments. The Bills have under performed against a weak schedule and have beaten only one team this season that currently has a winning record in the New York Jets.

Rex Ryan is a likable and entertaining guy. I truly enjoy it every time he steps to a microphone. However, as the old saying goes “you have to walk the walk if you talk the talk”. Rex has been unable to walk the walk.

Ryan bragged at his opening news conference in January that the Bills would have the league’s number one defense and return to their glory days.

Rex Ryan told everyone who would listen, including Andrea Kramer on an HBO interview in August, that things would be different with this Buffalo Bills team. Ryan looked at his new roster and expected great things.

Currently the Buffalo Bills are under .500 and last season’s number four ranked defense is ranked 20th in the NFL. Teams no longer fear the Bills’ vaunted pass rush and have scored, on average, almost six more points a game on this team in 2015.

It must be noted that the Bills have suffered numerous injuries to key players that have affected their play. The loss of Kyle Williams and Aaron Williams has affected the defense and on offense missed games by both Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy has been costly. Ryan certainly does not have the same unit on the field in December that he started out with in September, but how many coaches do?

With over 100 million dollars invested in the “D”-line, Ryan chose to use them as decoys time and time again to fool the opposition. Now after 13 games defensive starters are grumbling about the need to communicate better and quietly wishing they could be turned loose like the scheme under Jim Schwartz.

Make no mistake about it, players make coaches. Marv Levy would not be in the Hall of Fame today without Kelly, Thomas, Reed, Smith, Talley, Hull, Tasker and others. Bill Belichick would not have the Super Bowl rings without Tom Brady. But, Rex Ryan was handed a roster of superior players and is taking them in the wrong direction.

With three games to go this team could finish with the same record as last season at 9-7. I don’t expect them to win out to do that, consistency has not been this squad’s strong suit.

The off-season will give the Bills yet another opportunity to get it right. After sixteen years of missing the playoffs the odds at some point have to work in their favor. I believe it will Rex Ryan’s last chance to prove he belongs as a head coach in the NFL.



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