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Bills’ hiring of Ryan gets good grades


The Buffalo Bills said Rex Ryan has been named head coach. (Courtesy of Buffalo Bills)

The Buffalo Bills have hired Rex Ryan as head coach, and roughly half of RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents are impressed.

A plurality—27 percent—graded the hiring a B, while another 23 percent gave it top marks of an A. By contrast, 10 percent are wildly unimpressed—they marked F.

Ryan succeeds Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract with the Bills after the team finished its first winning season in a decade. When the Bills hired Marrone two years ago, 63 percent of Snap Poll respondents graded the move A or B.

The hiring of Ryan is the first big move under new Bills owners Terrence and Kim Pegula. “We look forward to his leadership and expertise in directing our team to the playoffs and bringing a championship to Buffalo for our fans,” Terrence Pegula said in a statement.

Ryan, 52, spent the last six seasons as New York Jets head coach. After the team finished 4-12, Ryan and General Manager John Idzik were fired.

Among Jets head coaches, Ryan ranked third with 50 regular season and postseason wins. In his first two seasons he led the team to the AFC Championship game. His 4-2 record in the postseason was the best in franchise history.

The majority of readers are not too optimistic about his impact on the Bills next season. By a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent, they think the Bills will not make the playoffs for the 16th straight year.

Before joining the Jets, Ryan was a defensive coach with the Baltimore Ravens. He was the defensive line coach in 2000 when the team won the Super Bowl. Ryan spent his final four seasons in Baltimore as defensive coordinator.

On Tuesday, the Bills announced that San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been hired as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Roman spent the past four seasons with the 49ers, during which time the 49ers advanced through seven playoffs rounds—including a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in 2012.

The Bills also let go defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Nearly 600 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Jan. 12 and 13.

How do you grade the hiring of Rex Ryan as Buffalo Bills head coach?
A: 23%
B: 27%
C: 25%
D: 14%
F: 10%

Do you think the Buffalo Bills will make the playoffs next season?
Yes: 40%
No: 60%

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.

COMMENTS:

I wish I was smart enough to make a rational decision about this, not an emotional one. After hiding my face under a bag for so many years as a Bills fan, I am coming out and publicly announcing that the Bills will win the Super Bowl next year, just like Rex Ryan certainly will promise to do! Bill-ieve!
—Lou Calarese, Applied Audio & Theatre Supply

In what universe is the hiring of a coach whose team finished last in their division and whose overall record is 50 wins/52 losses a good idea? If Pegula had waited a day or two, he could have grabbed (John) Fox from Denver.
—Joanne Greene-Blose

No matter how badly things went for the Bills, fans could always look to the circus sideshow of the Jets organization for comfort. Unfortunately, the circus has come to town. Whatever strengths Rex Ryan brings to the position of head coach, he has shown no capacity to fix what ails the Bills. Bad move by new ownership for sure.
—Mike Bergin, president, Chariot Learning

While Marrone’s exit was a great career move, Ryan’s hiring was a brilliant organizational move. A true watershed moment. Although I’m a lifetime Giants fan, it has been painful to watch the Bills flounder for 20 years. I think the Pegulas and Rex Ryan can transform the Bills into a destination team.
—Mary Jeanne Mooney, RV&E Bike and Skate

Buffalo’s issue is not defense or motivation, two of Rex’s strengths. Their problem is on the offensive side of the ball, which is a weakness of Rex’s and probably his biggest. He has hired an offensive coordinator whose strength is the ground game, with a weak offensive line, especially at the guard spots who are critical to your run game. They have a quarterback who needs development, and Rex did not improve (Mark) Sanchez during his tenure in New York. This was not a good hire by the Pegulas. There were candidates who I believe would have been a better fit.
—Dale Trott, DG&M Agency Inc.

He’s a better football guy than his recent predecessors. He’s also the first Bills’ coach in many years who is media savvy and has some personal charisma.
—Chris Pruszynski

He’s supposed to be a players’ coach and guys will want to come to Buffalo, or stay in Buffalo. Then what happened in N.J.? Why did the Jets go four and 12, including two blowout losses—in basically two road games—against the Bills? Defense wasn’t our problem, but he’ll change it anyway. What’s he going to do offensively?
—Rich Mileo

Think he is very capable, just didn’t have the right quarterback and draft picks. … Hope Buffalo fans will give him a chance.
—K. Youngs

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. At least the Pegulas are willing to spend some money to put a decent product on the field—finally.
—Jeff McSpadden, McSpadden Heating & Air LLC

How do you hire a guy with a losing record in your own conference? This is a pathetic move. Welcome to another five years of mediocrity.
—Devin Michaels, Chili

Referred to by many as a “great defensive mind,” Ryan seems an odd choice when the Bills already have a good defense and a good defensive coach. It would appear that the team would have opted for an offensive-minded coach or a head coach who could put in an offensive coordinator to match a proven defensive coordinator and managed the team.
—Robert Zinnecker, Penfield

Marrone and Ryan are both capable coaches. Can you spell “quarterback”? Until the Bills fill this position, they are going nowhere. Our Lord could be the coach, but we need a quarterback to win games.
—Ed Rosen, Fairport

Rex Ryan was the “best” of a mediocre field.
—Brian Kane

It is about time that the Bills hired a head coach with a proven track record and also one with a personality. A number of the most recent hires were cutting their teeth at the head coach’s position and had no fire or energy. Ryan will bring the swagger back to Buffalo. They will still struggle to make the playoffs without a good quarterback so that must be there next priority. Many people were wishing for Frank Reich. While that would “feel good” to Upstate New York, he is another unproven commodity. Why not get the best of both worlds by hiring Reich as the offensive coordinator?
—Mike Guche, Canfield & Tack Inc.

It makes no sense. If you look at his record with the Jets, he has a losing record. The Jets struggled without a good quarterback over the last two years. What makes anyone think that it’ll be different with the Bills? Professional sports head coaching is the only profession I can think of where someone who is fired for not performing can get hired a week later somewhere else for the same job making more money. I just don’t get it. Until we get a quality quarterback, expect another five years without a playoff game.
—David Wagner

I think it was a great hire! Rex is familiar with the AFC East and will have a big chip on his shoulder as he re-enters the coaching ranks with another team. He wants to show that his early success with the Jets was no fluke. He’ll definitely add some personality and color to the team. I’m disappointed that Jim Schwartz will not be staying as defensive coordinator.
—Paul Anken, MGM Insurance

Missing 2015 running back and quarterback. Again, Bills come up short on too many deals.
—Harold Ley, Rochester

The NYC “glam” and “headliners” of Coach Ryan fooled Mr. Pegula and (Russ) Brandon. It should never be about the coach, only the players and the team’s performance. Frank Reich and Coach Schwartz should have been named to the coaching staff. Continuity (Schwartz—top 5 defense) and Bills history (Reich—offensive coordinator) would stabilize the transition. Ryan was the ringmaster at the circus called Jets football.
—J. Brunette, Webster

Ryan definitely does not fit the mold of previous Bills’ coaching hires and for that reason and the “wow factor” he will bring to Buffalo, I think it is great! Regardless of who the coach is however, we have issues at O-line and QB, so until those are addressed a deep run into the playoff is unlikely, but I think a playoff bid in 2015 is attainable.
—Peter Short, Pittsford

This is the first time since Marv Levy that the Bills have hired a “big name” coach. I like Rex, he is a capable coach. Now, let’s get Tim Tebow back and cranking as the “miracle quarterback that the Bills need,” and maybe playoffs in 2015?
—Hutch Hutchison

I do not want to sound like a Monday morning quarterback, as I am probably the least qualified to respond on this issue, however, this move defies all common sense: a defense-minded coach when we got the defense fixed? Now we have two defense geniuses, and still no offense in spite of the recent San Francisco hire. Oh! What about a quarterback? Our new coach just went through about four of them!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

Rex will be a much better interview than any of our recent coaches, that’s for sure. I don’t see the Bills making the playoffs without a quarterback, but players seem to like playing for him, so maybe that will help attract someone competent.
—Jack Kosoff

I’m not particularly pleased with the new coach selection (I think he’s a blowhard), however most of the guys who play for him love him. My heart goes out to Bills fans, and therefore I wish Rex and the Bills the best for 2015 and a playoff berth. Go Bills!
—Peter Bonenfant

This bold move by Terry Pegula, to snatch Rex Ryan from the universe of available coaches, was a masterpiece of front-office maneuvers. After 15 years of no playoffs, I just need for the Bills to be exciting, but it would also be nice if they won. If anyone has forgotten, "Rex" means "king." I don’t know what "Marrone" means in Italian. Rex Ryan will have no problems with the press and had his own TV show with the Jets for a while. Rex Ryan is a defensive genius and should bring that genius to the Bills already strong defense. Rex might even channel some of his defensive magic from (former Philadelphia Eagles head coach) Buddy Ryan, his father.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.

Rex Ryan—retread.
—Jay Birnbaum

Although die-hard Bills fans (which I thankfully am not) are having a hard time processing the harsh realities of the team’s current status (no quarterback, no draft picks and an aging running game coming off serious injury), I knew it would be tough to attract a coach with greater talent. To me, Ryan is a ho-hum, close-to-the-vest choice, and indicates that although the name over the owner’s suite has changed, the attitude most definitely has not. My guess is that 8-8 next year will be a solid, perhaps even over-achieving, performance. The playoffs are out of the question: the Patriots, even though clearly no longer at their peak, are still the Patriots, and both Miami and New York will be improved from this year. It’ll be 2016 before the Bills’ can draft an NFL-quality QB, then it will be 2-3 seasons for him to gain the experience to perform at NFL playoff level. Yes, a QB trade or free agent acquisition is possible, but other than Jay Cutler, who I do not think the Bills should go after, who’s available? Besides, why the rush to sign Ryan? Atlanta had already rejected him, and there was no chance he was going to San Francisco, so there didn’t seem to be a high demand for his services. Had they waited just a bit, they could have at least talked to John Fox, who sure would look better on the sidelines (if he could have been persuaded to take on the "heavy lift" that Bill Polian described).
—David Lamb, Rochester

Terry Pegula certainly signaled that he has learned from his Sabres’ mistake of letting the Old Guard (Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff) run the show. Now, he may be spending a lot of time in the Florida sun trying to understand why Russ Brandon and Doug Whaley built in the $4 million opt-out clause for an unproven Doug Marrone. Duhhhhh! IMHO, including that option is a fire-able action for Russ and Whaley. Maybe Russ can be an adjunct at SJFC teaching a course in Sports Management: tips on writing contracts?
—Jerry McCabe

Ryan with the new offensive coach may be what the Bills need. Offense, the main weakness in the 2014 season. I don’t feel confident with (E.J. Manuel) as QB but maybe the new offensive coordinator can turn him around (nobody in free-agent to pick from at QB). Plus sure-up the offensive line with free-agents and drafts in the offseason. Go Bills!
—Stanley Hilt

1/16/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

One comment

  1. Marrone was not a bad coach, but they did not like him. He was plus 3 wins to his record over 2013–he was only here two years–not three–they would not pay him; that’s the truth. Let’s wait and see how things pan out.

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