Playoffs or Bust For Rex Ryan

It’s been 16 long seasons since Bills fans tasted football in January.

When the Bills signed Rex Ryan to a five-year deal, everyone including myself jumped on the Rex Ryan bandwagon. Rex Ryan started his tenure by saying “Is this thing on? Because it’s getting ready to be on and that’s the truth”. It wasn’t long after that Rex promised the Bills Nation a chance at the playoffs.

Nov 30, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly (R) waves the Bills flag as the players run onto the field prior to their game against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Rex Ryan and the Bills better deliver the playoffs this season, or it might cost Rex his job. At least that’s what Hall of Fame quarterback and Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly believes.

“I think Rex will probably be looking for another job. I think everybody knows that, including Rex,” Kelly told The Jim Rome Show on Thursday.

While Kelly was under center for the Bills, they only missed the playoffs three times. Just like the fans, I’m sure Kelly is dying to see The Ralph “rock” in January, or at least have meaningful games late in the season. Jim Kelly might be on to something. If the Bills don’t make the playoffs Rex might be shown the door. The two main reasons why he might be fired are the playing of Tyrod Taylor, and his defense.

When Rex Ryan came in, he took over a top five defense that finished in the top five in a host of different defensive categories. The Bills were the number one defense in sacks with a total of 54. They were number one in third down percentage, third in passing defense, third in takeaways, and fourth in points per game.

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan reacts after the New York Jets miss a field goal during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

After week 1, when the Bills dominated Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, it seemed that the Bills picked up where they left off in the 2014 season, but that wasn’t the case. The Bills defense took a step back, or maybe five steps back. The defense went from a top 5 in 2014 to the 19th overall in 2015. Individual player status suffered as well. Mario Williams went from 14.5 sacks, the 4th most in 2014, to only 5 sacks in 2015. After the season, Mario was let go but was he the one to blame? We will find out this season. Rex was hired because of his defensive resume. If he doesn’t start producing a good defense he will surely be looking for a new job.

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass under pressure by New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Until Tyrod Taylor, the Bills haven’t had a decent quarterback since Jim Kelly. In my opinion, Taylor had a good season. He was even selected to play in the Pro Bowl. Taylor finished the season with 20 touchdowns, only 6 interceptions, and 4 rushing touchdowns. Tyrod also finished 7th overall in QBR with 67.8. If you would have told me before the 2015 season started what Taylor’s stats were going to be, I would have said the Bills made the playoffs. However, that was not the case. Taylor and the offense did their job, but the defense did not show up in 2015.

If Rex’s defense doesn’t improve he is going to be in trouble, especially if Taylor and the offense keep making strides. Rex was hired to bring smash mouth football to the defensive side of the ball, not to try to recruit LeBron James to play tight end for the team.

The way I see it if the defense improves and Tyrod keeps playing the way that he is, or even better, the Bills will be on their way to the playoffs in 2016.