People at times may doubt that what Rex Ryan is doing in Buffalo is changing the output on the field. Those same people may also doubt at times that he is good for the Buffalo Bills organization as a whole. Those very same people are the ones that are within the community, celebrating the fact that Rex can keep players that the Bills could not in the past.
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It wasn’t long ago that Bills fans felt burned. We felt used by many players. We were stepping stones to a better team, in a better situation. A place where players can revitalize their careers. Buffalo was a place where players would come to play, be thrown into the fire, and if they came out of that fire, they would expect to be compensated. They would expect top-dollar money.
It seems as though that has changed since Rex took to the throne in Buffalo. Players are staying. But not only that, players are staying because they love it here.
“I definitely took less to come back to Buffalo” – Richie Incognito
On Tuesday, arguably one of the best free-agent lineman re-signed to Buffalo at a lesser value than he was expected to get from the reported seven or so teams that had interest in him. This is something new to Buffalo but is also what Rex Ryan brings to the table as the head coach. A voice, as well as a leader that can persuade others to stay when in the past, they would leave.
“You can’t put a price tag on being happy,” Incognito said. “That’s where I’m happiest, playing in Buffalo, playing at the Ralph. I have great teammates.”
The fact of the matter is, Rex has certain players he likes and certain players like him. It’s been seen before with him in New York as well as in Baltimore. We’ve seen this through time that coaches who can attract the best fitting talent just by their own name, can do so. Players want to play in systems where they feel comfortable and fit.
There were rumors earlier this offseason that Antonio Cromartie, a player who spent time in New York with Rex Ryan, as well as others who previously played for him, would be open to a reunion with the defensive-minded coach in Buffalo.
We saw the flip-side of this recently with Mario Williams. A player disgruntled with the play calling, culminating to a point where he publicly called out the scheme and method of play-calling that was being done. GM Doug Whaley clearly recognized this clashing of styles and announced they would release Mario on March 1st.
Regardless of how this offseason turns out, we should feel as though we are in good hands. Although we cannot predict the future as to where players will land in free agency, we can predict this simple fact. Players want to be where they are happy, and with Rex, they’re happy.