When Rex Ryan was hired as head coach of the Bills this offseason, there was instant excitement in Buffalo.
Well, we’re not even to Halloween yet, and already Bills fans are questioning whether Ryan is the right guy for the job.
Is this an overreaction?
“Yes, it is – because a big problem with this team right now is injury,” Bills insider Brent Axe said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Now, that’s not to say you can’t point some of this at Rex Ryan because when you come in and you flex your muscles and talk the way that he did and get people hyped up, well, you got to back it up. They’ve had a couple opportunities here early to win some games that would at least send you down the road to say, ‘Hey, this guy knows what he’s taking about.’ But just look at the record: 3-3. And you look at who they beat (Indianapolis, Miami and Tennessee) and you look at who they lost to (New England, New York Giants and Cincinnati) and he’s not matching up the wins with the bravado so far. So I think you can say that Rex was guilty of that.
“But the main issue on this team is injury,” Axe reiterated. “That sounds like an excuse in a way, but just look at the injury list and how it’s piling up. Last week they play Cincinnati, who is already one of the most talented teams n the league. They had nobody on the injury list. On game day, the Bills had 15 players. So not only is some of the backlash building up against Rex, the injury list is a busy one week in and week out here.”
While some Bills fans feel Ryan isn’t backing up the bravado, it hasn’t gotten to the point where the fan base distrusts him.
“No, I don’t think we’re there,” Axe said, “but the big criticism came this week (because) their game plan against Cincinnati defensively was terrible. Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams are not two of the most vocal players in that locker room. I mean, they’ll talk to you if you ask questions and they’ll tell you what you need to hear, but they were frustrated last week. Now, it was not in a spout-off, I’m-done-with-this-guy kind of way. It was in a, ‘You know what? I don’t think we’re being used properly in the scheme, and we need to talk to coach to figure this out’ kind of way, particularly with Mario Williams.
“I mean, Mario Williams was out in coverage way more than he should be against Cincinnati. Rex said he wanted to flood the passing lanes and beat Andy Dalton that way, but that is not why those two are the highest-paid players on the team. They are there, particularly Mario Williams, to get after the quarterback and knock Andy Dalton – or whoever’s on the other side of the field – on their butt. So the first real criticism of Rex came this week because people saw the game plan, saw what they were doing against Cincinnati and said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, this is what our defensive guru is doing here?’
“And lets not forget Bills fans are spoiled by the fact that they’ve had Mike Pettine and Jim Schwartz before that, and here comes Rex Ryan who was supposed to keep that lineage going. (He’s) one of the better defensive minds in football. And we just didn’t see that last week.”