Buffalo Bills: Is Rex Ryan’s bravado a bad thing?


Should Rex Ryan tone down his act for the Buffalo Bills?

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan was up to his usual tricks on Tuesday evening, once again displaying his bravado for all the world to see. His latest confidence-filled comments were, as usual, caught by the media, at the conclusion of the 16th and final training camp at St. John Fisher College.

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Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News was among those there to listen to Ryan: “Look, we definitely expect to be in the playoffs, period. We said that since Day One; we got no qualms about it.

“We expect to be in there. We know and realize that a lot of things can happen, but we expect to be in. We’ve got a good football team.”

Admittedly, this wasn’t exactly a guarantee. However, it’s the type of comments the 52-year old has been coming out with, since first being hired as the Bills 18th head coach.

Right from the word go at his introductory press conference, Ryan was full of bullish confidence: “It’s been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs. Well, get ready, because we’re going.”

Of course, New York Jets fans are used to the antics of the Ardmore, Oklahoma native. After he replaced Eric Mangini in 2009, a Super Bowl victory was guaranteed.

Jul 31, 2015; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan speaks to the media after a practice session during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

However, while the Jets had some early success – going to two consecutive AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010, the team started to slip. This eventually resulted in a 4-12 record in Ryan’s final season, leading to his firing.

The question is, how will all this bravado impact the Bills, as we prepare for the 2015 season. Will it prove to have a positive or negative affect on the team?

Looking to the past can often lead to answers. Take, for example, the comments of LaDainian Tomlinson, who played two seasons for the Jets, before retiring following the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.

At the time, the future Hall of Famer said Ryan’s Super Bowl predictions had an adverse effect on the locker room. In essence, it was felt that undue pressure was being placed on the players shoulders.

In fairness to Ryan, he conceded there was likely some truth to this. He went on to announce that he would refrain from making similar statements in the future.

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However, does this mean the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator needs to back off from his most recent comments regarding the Bills? Absolutely not.

Ryan has been a breath of fresh air for the Bills. In fact, you could argue that his “act” is better suited to the Western New York area – the fans love it and the players have bought into it.

Let’s be honest, the Bills defense already believes they have the potential to be the number one unit in the NFL. Hearing the head coach echo this sentiment has only inspired them to further embrace this concept.

Having said all that, this doesn’t change the fact that the defense will need some help from the other side of the ball. Regardless of all the talented skill players at their disposal, the Bills aren’t going anywhere without quality play from under center.

Along those lines, the Bills appear no closer to knowing who their starting quarterback will be for the home opener against the Indianapolis Colts. All three competitors for the role will see significant playing time against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the team’s third preseason game.

However, despite all the uncertainty surrounding the position, Ryan has unsurprisingly turned this into a positive: “Well, I think the big thing is we talked about it being a legitimate competition, so that is in my mind, that we give these guys an opportunity.”

When asked by Carucci and the rest of the media if he has a starter in mind, Ryan said: “This was the scenario I wanted. I wanted a scenario where all three guys performed at a high level and I think we have.”

The Southwestern Oklahoma State graduate has said he will wait until the last possible moment to name his opening day starter. For his sake, he better hope this strategy works out, as quarterback will have a huge say in his believe that the Bills will finally return to the playoffs this seasons.

Make no mistake about it, the people of Western New York love Ryan’s bombastic ways right now. However, if the team falls flat on its face in 2015, it will merely add to the perception around the league that he is full of hot air.

Next: Predicting the Bills opening day offensive roster