Buffalo Bills: Firing Rex Ryan Would Be a Huge Mistake

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan encourages his defense during the fourth quarter in a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 31-25. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan encourages his defense during the fourth quarter in a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 31-25. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 18, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Mike Gillislee (35) and head coach Rex Ryan talk before the game against the Cleveland Browns at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

Here’s why Rex Ryan should be given another year with the Buffalo Bills.

There are a lot of disgruntled members in the #BillsMafia right now.

But just think for a minute, going into the season, did you really believe the Buffalo Bills would be any better than 10-6 this season? With games against the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, a pair against the New England Patriots and a road matchup against the Oakland Raiders, probably not, right?

I’m an optimist, and even I thought 10-6 would be Buffalo’s ceiling. They’re currently one game off that pace.

Look, there’s a reason to be disappointed about the outcome of the 2016 season. Especially with all things considered. *A looming 17-year playoff drought*

However, this season wasn’t lost. The Bills are much less of a dumpster fire than some people believe and firing Rex Ryan would be a mistake.

Buffalo has the possibility to land nine players in the Pro Bowl this year, with LeSean McCoy and Lorenzo Alexander already locks.

First-round selection Shaq Lawson has made up for lost time in eight games this season, registering seven tackles and a pair of sacks. Mario Williams has nine tackles and 1.5 sacks in case you were wondering.

Buffalo seems to have hit on another pair of rookies in defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and cornerback Kevon Seymour, too. Washington has started 10 games this season, while Seymour has a pair of starts.

The Bills once again lead the league in rushing and have built the recipe for success on offense, scoring the third-most touchdowns this season.

Oh, and even after a dip in production, Tyrod Taylor has the 20th-biggest cap hit next season, if his option is picked up. There aren’t 19 quarterbacks that are better than Taylor in the NFL. While Taylor may have underwhelmed this season, he isn’t the problem.

And if Buffalo is going to move on from Taylor in the offseason, Tony Romo or Kirk Cousins better be his replacement.

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Not to mention, much of the season has been played without both Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods on the field at the same time. Remember last year’s Green Bay offense without Jordy Nelson? It struggled — and Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback.

Yes, Ryan’s defense has been a disappointment. I fully believed it would be much improved, but it has only gotten slightly better.

However, he has improved in a couple of categories.

Buffalo is on pace to finish as the eighth-best defense against the pass, after finishing 19th last season. Oh, and that’s with six safeties landing on the injured reserve this season, including defensive leader Aaron Williams. Not to mention Buffalo’s sacks are up from 21 a year ago to 38, which ranks third in the NFL.

But Buffalo’s rushing defense took a severe step back this season, falling from 16th to 27th. Having a pair of 200-yard rushers can do that to a defense.

The Bills haven’t improved on third down either. Sitting near the bottom third each of the last two seasons, third-down defense is an area Buffalo must improve at next season.

With a solidified safety position, a full season of Marcell Dareus up front and the addition of Reggie Ragland, Buffalo’s third-down and rushing defenses should improve next season.

If Buffalo moves on from Ryan some severe ramifications could follow, especially on the defensive end. A move would cause a change in defensive schemes again, just like it did before the 2015 season. And if players aren’t in place to fit the next coach’s style, it will likely take more than a year to get them in the door.

Football is about continuity. Along the offensive line, between the quarterback and his wide receivers, within the front seven and on the coaching staff. It’s the reason you don’t see many trades during the season.

If Terry and Kim Pegula want to move on from Ryan, fine, but they better hit on their next head coach. With a few moves in the off-season, Buffalo can be close to contending for a playoff spot on an annual basis and it would be a shame to see Ryan’s work go out the window.

Remember, Bill Belichick was just two games over .500 after three seasons with the New England Patriots. Pete Carroll finished 7-9 in his first two seasons in Seattle.

Even Tom Coughlin didn’t build the New York Giants into a consistent winner right away and saw four seasons of losing records before he got the Giants to 11-5 in 2005 and a Super Bowl in 2006.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rex Ryan deserves at least one more season — period.

What are your thoughts on Rex Ryan? Leave your comments below!