The Rex Ryan train is starting to derail in Buffalo. Just hours after starting 0-2, Ryan announced that he was firing his offensive coordinator Greg Roman. And what’s worse, it may not have been his decision at all.
As reported by Sporting News the decision to let Roman go was not really Rex’s. “Buffalo’s front office leaned on head coach Rex Ryan to make a significant change,” the report said, “in hopes of appeasing a disgruntled fan base.”
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And with good reason. Rex Ryan took control of a 9-7 team that was on the cusp of making the playoffs back in 2014. He fell one game shy of matching the record the team had under Doug Marrone, but what every NFL analyst noted was the drop off of the defense under Ryan – an area of football that’s supposed to be Rex’s stock in trade.
And now the Bills have started off with a dreadful 0-2 record. They opened up the season against the Baltimore Ravens, a team that finished with a sub 0.500 record last year after losing Joe Flacco to a knee injury. Buffalo made the Ravens defense look like the 2000 Ravens when they could only muster seven points against them.
That was followed up by a poor showing against the Jets. If not for a broken play, a defensive score and a deep ball to Marquise Goodwin past an aging Darrelle Revis the Bills offense didn’t muster much in that game either.
But was it bad enough to can their offensive coordinator this early into the year?
Statisticians predict only 12 percent of teams that are 0-2 make the playoffs, which could be the reason for the move. It has also been rumored since the end of last season that there was a “make the playoffs or you’re fired” mandate handed down to Rex from the organization. Ryan alluded to that mandate in a team-produced documentary titled “Rex and Rob Reunited,” according to the NY Daily News.
“Everything’s questioned,” Ryan told his players in training camp. “I forgot how to f—–g coach. ‘The players don’t respond to Rex, he don’t know what the f–k he’s doing anymore.'”
And now it seems like he might be right. In fact, the decision to sack Roman after just two games certainly reeks of desperation, according to NFL Network, whether or not he was the brains behind the decision.
“After just two games, Ryan has ditched 18 months of planning and cohesion in Roman’s offense,” NFL Editor Gregg Rosenthal wrote, “including an offseason that Rex said they ‘won’ this year.”
Rosenthal went on to assert that the panic button has officially been pressed and that Roman is taking the fall for something out of his hands.
“Rex is surely frustrated with the team’s running game, but it’s hard to fault Roman for quarterback Tyrod Taylor missing open receivers down the field. It’s not Roman’s fault that Ryan has made the defense worse or that the Bills have one of the thinnest wideout groups in football. It’s not Roman’s fault their top option, Sammy Watkins, is playing through a sore foot.”
Regardless of the excuses, it definitely looks like the ship is sinking. And while Rex has gone on record, according to USA Today, to take ownership of the dismissal of Roman, it still sends a bad optic around the league. At 0-2, the Bills next two games are against superior opponents in the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots.
“I’m accountable for everything that goes on,” said Ryan. “And I’m also accountable for these decisions.”
Rex Ryan will certainly be accountable if they fail to make the playoffs. And he’ll pay for it with his job.
[Featured Image by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]