Jerry Sullivan is over Rex Ryan. In fact, he was never really on Rex Ryan. But the honeymoon period? Yeah, that’s over.
“I think that’s been over for quite a while,” Sullivan, the Buffalo News sportswriter, said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “People were really starting to sour on him last year when his defense did not produce anywhere near the way it had the year before. The 21 sacks is astonishing when they set records (before he arrived). Rex came in and acted like Buffalo people didn’t know what football looked like. They went to four super bowls. And while a lot of them wanted to believe in him and he talked a good game, there were skeptics all along because they knew he hadn’t done well with the Jets. What happened there with Shaq Lawson really has people’s heads spinning.”
Earlier this week, the Bills announced that Lawson, their first-round draft pick, will need shoulder surgery, this after doing a swim move on a tackling dummy.
Sullivan isn’t buying it.
“It was almost like they didn’t want to admit that he had been hurt all along,” Sullivan said. “I don’t know if they’re lying, but I don’t believe them. After 16 years of this and some of the stuff they’ve pulled over the years, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt. I can’t believe that going out there and running through some drills and doing a swim move was a significant injury – or any injury. I’m not even sure it even happened. But they had to have some sort of cover story that something had happened at camp. I believe this was going to happen all along. The fans are very forgiving. If they had been honest, they would have handled this a lot better. But they just stood there and said, ‘It’s not a big deal.’ Can’t we have a little bit of honesty here?”
Lie or no lie, Sullivan is fed up with the franchise, which hasn’t made the playoffs this century.
Ryan’s brash personality, which Sullivan finds artificial and contrived, has gotten to be too much.
“Look, I got tired of him halfway through the first year,” Sullivan said. “I thought he was smarter than he really is. His shtick is not really backed up with any kind of articulate (thought). He’s just not that smart. He says the same thing over and over. He doesn’t speak in complete sentences. The point is, his act is old – and that’s another way he’s great for Buffalo. They have a history of taking people’s leftovers. Terrell Owens was a perfect example – another (person) just used to create a splash and sell tickets. Not only is Rex’s act old, but his basic philosophy of football is antiquated. He’s collecting running backs and he still wants to run the ball 52 percent of the time and play tough defense. That can work, but you better have great, great defensive players and still have a good quarterback to make that work. It’s not working.”
It’s also fair to question if the Bills are exploiting their fan base.
“I don’t tell people how to spend their money, and God bless Buffalo fans. They are eternal optimists,” Sullivan said. “But at some point, you do have to wonder if they exacerbate the problem by supporting a product that really doesn’t pay off for them. The fans here are almost worn down to the point where it’s just part of their persona to lose. They’re going to enjoy the product regardless because it’s what you do in Buffalo. You go to Bills games, you go to Sabres games and you just have to laugh.”