It was a decision that was difficult, but one that Bills owners Terry Pegula and Kim Pegula felt they had to make. Rex Ryan was relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
“I spoke with Rex earlier today and we mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now,” said Terry Pegula. “These decisions are never easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rex for all his efforts and wish him all the best moving forward.
“Kim and I and our entire Bills organization share in the same disappointment and frustration as our fans, but we remain committed to our goal of bringing a championship to Western New York.”
“Anthony Lynn will serve as our interim head coach to lead us through the Jets game.”
Ryan’s brother, Rob Ryan, has also been relieved of his duties. He was hired just this past offseason to serve as Assistant head coach/Defense.
Ryan’s biggest shortcomings came on the side of the ball he was expected to at the very least maintain at a top five level. When he was hired as head coach he inherited a defense that ranked fourth in the NFL overall, led the league in sacks and third down defense and was fourth in points allowed.
But Ryan’s defense finished 19th overall in 2015 and looks as though it may finish in much the same place despite the fact that he hired his brother Rob Ryan, a new defensive line coach in John Blake and former player Ed Reed as assistant secondary coach. They currently rank 19th in total defense and 15th in points allowed.
Buffalo’s defensive performance was particularly uneven in 2016. There were games where they were beaten for big plays, an area where they currently rank 17th. There were games when stopping the run proved particularly difficult with three games in which they surrendered more than 200 yards on the ground, including two games against Miami.
The Bills currently rank 28th against the run, meaning they’re very likely to finish worse than they did in 2015 when they ranked 16th in that category.
On third down the Bills defense appears it will have a repeat performance this season to that of last year. They’re currently 23rd in the league in third down defense, exactly where they finished in 2015.
Ryan’s team performance against teams with winning records also left strong indication that lifting the Bills into the upper echelon of the league was proving difficult for him. Buffalo was just 3-6 against teams with winning records in 2015. This season the Bills are 1-7 against opponents with winning records with the lone victory coming against New England when they had to start rookie QB Jacoby Brissett.
The functionality of the defense was also an issue as personnel grouping substitutions were inconsistent at times forcing the team to burn timeouts in games. And the most egregious offense came in last week’s game when there were just 10 players on the field for Miami’s game-tying 55-yard kick with six seconds remaining when they could not get their field goal block unit on the field in time.
Then in overtime Buffalo’s defense had just 10 players on the field when Jay Ajayi ripped off a 57-yard run that put Miami in position to kick the game-winning field goal last Saturday eliminating the Bills from playoff contention.
Ryan’s career as Bills head coach finished with a record of 15-16.
Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will serve as interim head coach for the team’s final game of the season. He is considered a legitimate candidate for the full time job heading into the 2017 offseason.