The Buffalo Bills’ season got off to a solid 5-4 start. But since then, they’ve lost four out of five games and the pressure is really on head coach Rex Ryan. Now that the 6-8 team is officially eliminated from playoff contention, rumors are circulating that Ryan could be fired from Buffalo after just one season.
The speculation kicked up following a 35-25 loss to the Washington Redskins, where the 53-year-old coach promised that “drastic changes” would be coming.
“If we don’t get better, the reality of it is this,” said Ryan. “This is the National Football League and unless we get a heck of a lot better, there’s going to be changes. That’s what I told them, there’s going to be drastic changes.”
When asked to expand on what he meant, Ryan merely offered, “When you have a season like this, then you have to consider changes. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
The Bills had a promising 9-7 record last season under head coach Doug Marrone, who resigned in the offseason. Ryan was then hired after being fired by the New York Jets, and he was expected to improve an already strong defense. However, the team only ranks 20th in defense this year, and they’ve tallied just 20 sacks – far off the blistering pace they set last season by recording 54 sacks.
Defensive end Mario Williams has been really unhappy in Ryan’s scheme and there’s rumors that this could be his last year in Buffalo. Of course, injuries have hit the team hard, which is something that Ryan recently addressed.
“I think any time you don’t reach your expectations or whatever, you’ve got to look deep into why things happen,” Ryan told the New York Post. “It’s easy to point to injuries. A lot of teams go through it. It’s ridiculous the amount of injuries we’ve had. Is that a contributing factor? Of course, and it would be ridiculous if you don’t think it is. However, we’ve got to look at other things as well and everything has to be looked at. We have two games to prove that we belong here. That’s every coach, every player, everybody and that’s just the reality of the business.”
It’s interesting that Ryan is already looking back on a lost season with two games left to play. However, the expectations were high in Buffalo coming off a winning campaign last year. And now the question is if Ryan will be back to try again with this team in 2016.
“There’s a good nucleus here,” he said. “There’s an excellent group here. Did it go according to plan? No, not this year. I thought in my heart of hearts that we would be good enough to make a playoff run. I understand the fans’ frustrations. I feel personally responsible. I don’t want to let our fans down. It just pains me that we couldn’t deliver it this year.”
The Bills end their 2015 season with games against the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. Depending upon how they perform in these last two contests, it could go a long way towards determining whether or not Ryan and his staff come back for a second season. Furthermore, these games will decide how much player turnover is needed in order to have a successful year in 2016.