While it normally seems way too early to sound the alarms after one 13-7 loss, head coach Rex Ryan was already a guy on a considerably hot seat even before kickoff.
By extension, that would mean his brother, Rob, is also staring at the flames as well, since the only reason he has a job right now is the generosity of his twin.
This goes beyond the Buffalo Bills—a team which Ryan took over in 2015 with his usual amount of bravado and bluster—but even deeper to his previous stint with the New York Jets.
After back-to-back appearances (and losses) in AFC Championship games, Ryan didn’t have a season above .500 in his last four years as the Jets head coach. Adding in last season’s underwhelming 8-8 season with the Bills, and it’s been five years since he had a winning record or made the playoffs.
It was even worse last year, as the defense regressed tremendously under Ryan’s tutelage. If defensive genius Rex Ryan can’t coach a defense to be good, then what is he worth as a coach? Because it’s clear that, offensively, he’s not any help. We’ve seen him put blinders on and only deal with the defense before, and his ultra-conservative run focused offensive philosophy—that should probably be in quotes—isn’t helping his team.
In the NFL landscape of today, you have to be able to pass the ball well and while Tyrod Taylor was a nice surprise last season and Sammy Watkins is one of the better young receivers in the league, the Bills just can’t keep up.
You saw that this past weekend, when the only relevant talent for Taylor to throw to was Watkins, and when he was blanketed in coverage, the quarterback had few other worthwhile choices.
The offensive line is also a mess and was manhandled by the Baltimore Ravens defensive line this week. Maybe the Ravens are better than people thought or maybe the Bills line is worse. Then again, it might be a little of both.
Either way, Ryan hasn’t done much to help out his passing offense, content to run the ball and hope his defense works things out.
If it can’t, though, and the Bills suffer through another disappointing season, it may not cost Ryan the Bills job, but any head coaching job for some time.
Again, if the defensive guy can’t get his defense going, why hire him? If he won’t help the offense out, and seems unable to get the right coaching staff to get the most out of the offense, why limit your team by taking him on?
On top of all that, Ryan’s act has grown old. His constant spotlight hogging and braggadocio, even when his teams are awful, are grating where they were once funny. Winning might change that, but it’s been a long time since he won regularly.
Again, why bring that on? You know he’s going to say something embarrassing or stupid at some point. So, why set your franchise up to have to deal with that. Ryan used to take some weight off his players, but it hasn’t worked in quite some time. While backing his players up is a good thing, those same players often aren’t very well disciplined on the field. Ryan’s teams are flagged—a lot—and it’s hard not to feel like it’s because their head coach is a bit too “player friendly” during the week.
None of this bodes well for Rex Ryan, and if it’s bad for him, it’s worse for his brother.
The last three teams—the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints—all underperformed under his stewardship and his plan to lean on rookies this season blew up in his face when they got injured.
Granted, the defense looked pretty good on Sunday, but unless they play lights out this whole season, it’s going to be hard to change the narrative on Rob Ryan, and harder to find a job.
Both would end up working again in some capacity—the NFL loves recycling people even if they fail—but it could be some time—if ever—before Rex Ryan is a head coach again or Rob Ryan gets a defensive coordinator job.