Can the Buffalo Bills attract a high profile head coach with the way that they moved on from Rex Ryan so quickly?
Rex Ryan burst onto the Buffalo scene like a bat out of hell. From his initial press conference to his Buffalo Bills pickup truck he tried his best to show that he was “all-in” with his commitment to the team and the community. Ownership was not as committed to Rex as he was to them and they dismissed him one game short of two full seasons with the organization.
There are fans who think this was a wise move and others that think it was idiotic but what’s done is done. One question that does linger is if how they treated Rex Ryan will affect their ability to attract a big name head coach should they chose to pursue one.
The Pegula’s took over as owners during Doug Marrone’s last season where he chose to opt out of his contract due to a unique clause allowing him to do so with a change in ownership. The Bills then brought in Rex Ryan but pushed him out of town just short of two years of service. What big name head coach would feel comfortable with ownership that is going on their third coach in the past three years even if it’s not completely fair to pin Marrone leaving on the Pegula’s?
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Doug Whaley also is a problem for an incoming coach with a pedigree. He has now reportedly clashed with two head coaches since he became general manager. He’s in charge of the coaching search and he knows the bigger name coach he recommends to hire the more power he is going to have to give up over personnel. He lacks the incentive to go after a big name coach and a top coach may not want to come in and deal with Whaley given his history with the past two coaching staffs.
You can argue that the Bills didn’t give Rex Ryan a fair chance to succeed. When Rex was brought in the Bills were running a 4-3 defensive scheme. Rex prefers a hybrid system that uses a 3-4 look more often and a system change like that can sometimes take a few years to get the right personnel on the roster. He was fired in less than two years and in neither year did the Bills have a particularly terrible record.
The Bills have had just one winning season since 2005 so with Rex going 8-8 in his first year and 7-8 in his second season it wasn’t like the team should have expected much better than that given recent history.
He was also fired with one week left in the year right before he was about to have a rematch against the last team that fired him. That’s another move that doesn’t look right on the surface however based on reports it seemed that Rex forced the issue by wanting to play Tyrod and asking to speak with Terry Pegula about his future privately on a conference call.
Since Marv Levy’s last year in 1997, the Bills have had seven different head coaches and two interim head coaches. No Buffalo Bills coach has completed four seasons during that span and that can’t be reassuring for a high profile coach that might need some time to change the culture, establish their schemes and bring in players that match the skills needed for their playbook.
It doesn’t seem like the Bills are targeting a high profile coach except maybe Tom Coughlin but if they are, the way that they let Rex Ryan go and their inability to stick with coaches in the past 20 years might end up making it harder for them to seal the deal with a top quality head coach who has a pedigree. Only time will tell but the Bills need to give their next hire more patience than they have shown in the past 20 years if they want to rid themselves of this stigma.