Pardon the cheap plug, but the point was raised on Sports Talk Sunday and is worth repeating. Doug Marrone had a ridiculous exit cause in his contract that allowed him to leave with $4 million if the franchise changed owners. The Bills were forced to pay him all that money for NOT coaching the team.
Bills fans were outraged at the time, but $4 million looks like a Kmart special if the money could be spent the same way on Rex Ryan. Seriously, wouldn’t it be nice if Terry and Kim Pegula could dump $4 million on Rex Ryan’s lap to stop coaching and continue on his merry way?
It’s not happening.
Ryan has four full years and $22 million remaining on the deal he struck with the Bills, when he schmoozed his way into another coaching gig after failing in New York. He’s already said this is likely his last stop in coaching. It’s not as if the Bills should expect financial relief if they fired him.
Fasten your seatbelts, Buffalo, and brace yourself for a bumpy ride. You’re stuck with the guy for the foreseeable future. Even he knows by now that he can no longer prey upon eternal optimists who bought the hope he was selling when he rolled into town. Benefit of the doubt left town long ago.
People were willing to play along with Rex during the offseason. Rex was upbeat and positive and entertaining. A few weeks into the season, he proved himself to be a blowhard who claimed to have all the answers but actually had very few. The only thing different than the coaches before him was his approach.
Never mind the games Buffalo lost. You wonder how they won six games after watching them in the first half of a 35-25 loss to Washington. They had almost no chance of making the playoffs leading into Sunday’s contest. Now they’re history. For the 16th straight season, they will miss the postseason.
The first half reminded me of the 2013 debacle at Candlestick Park, where the Bills quit in a 45-3 loss to the 49ers. Buffalo ended up finishing 6-10 and showing Chan Gailey the door. Greg Roman should remember. He was the Niners’ offensive coordinator at the time.
Sunday’s game wasn’t quite as putrid, but it also wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Buffalo surfaced in the second half after trailing, 28-10, but it was much too late and wasn’t sustained. Overall, their performance was like many this season. They weren’t good enough to win and received the result they richly deserved.
Blame Rex for another lousy year?
Definitely, but he’s hardly alone.
The Bills didn’t play hard enough or play smart enough this season. They lacked discipline for most of the year. They were short on confidence. At times, the coaching staff didn’t have enough confidence in their own players. It wasn’t just one thing, as they say, it was everything.
Rex and the rest sounded like they had all the answers. In the end, their own arrogance contributed to their demise as much as anything.
Roman has made a habit out of outsmarting himself all year, and he was intent on sticking to that plan Sunday. He makes me wonder if gets away from a successful game plan because he gets bored running plays that work. It’s his way of keeping the other team off balance – and his own offense off the field.
For example, the Bills have been effective all year long running to the left side behind guard Richie Incognito and tackle Cordy Glenn. Rather than keep running to the left until the other team stops them, in this case Washington on Sunday, Roman feels an overwhelming need to mix up his calls and punting.
It comes back to common sense.
Ryan stubbornly stuck with a defense scheme that worked in other places for him but hasn’t worked for the Bills. Their aggression on defense was one reason they were ranked fourth last season. So what does Ryan do? He takes away their aggression and watches them slide down the rankings. It’s mindboggling.
And the Bills wonder why they were trailing 14-0 against another mediocrity in Washington. Just days after Ryan insisted his team would keep fighting, the Bills backed down and played like a disinterested team running for the offseason. In other words, the Bills were intent on finishing like the previous 15 teams.
Marrone had his flaws. A vast majority of fans seemed to be snickering when he failed to land a head-coaching job and landed in Jacksonville coaching the offensive line. But he was a better coach than Ryan and made far less money.
You knew it was going to be a long day when Washington marched down the field on its first possession like it was a walk on the beach. The Bills were kind enough to make way before Jordan Reed caught his eighth touchdown this season. Cousins scored on a 15-yard run before finding Reed for another TD, this one from 18 yards.
Washington 21, Buffalo 0.
Game, set, match.