How many Ryans can one town handle?
Buffalo, apparently, is about to find out.
Bills coach Rex Ryan hinted that his twin brother, Rob, who was recently fired from his job as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, was visiting Western New York.
“Well I think it would be obvious if he was,” Ryan said, before smiling and adding, “there’s probably some truth to that rumor.”
Maybe he’s just visiting for the holidays. Or maybe Rex Ryan thinks his brother can add something to the Bills’ defensive coaching staff.
Rob Ryan does have plenty of free time these days. He was let go by the Saints following an embarrassing, 47-14 loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 10.
At the time, the Saints ranked last in points allowed, yards, yards per play, passing touchdowns, net passing yards per attempt and rushing yards per carry. Things haven’t gotten much better since Ryan was let go – the Saints are still last in all those categories.
Rob Ryan has had plenty of ups and downs as a coordinator. He has turned around struggling defenses before, taking the Oakland Raiders from the worst defense in the NFL in 2005 to third overall the following year. In New Orleans, the Saints had the worst defense in NFL history in 2012, but rebounded to finish fourth in 2013.
Ryan’s stint with the Saints was the fourth different team he’s served as defensive coordinator, along with the Raiders (2004-08), Cleveland (2009-10) and Dallas (2011-12). He was fired from each job.
“He’ll be fine,” Rex Ryan said last month after Rob Ryan was fired. “This is the business that we chose. It’s going to happen. It happens to everybody. … I would have liked to have seen him finish out the season. Obviously that’s what he would’ve liked.”
Rex Ryan was asked then about the possibility of Rob joining the Bills.
“I’ll never say never, that’s for sure,” Rex Ryan said. “We’ve kind of purposely set a path going to different teams. He’s his own man, I’m my own man and we’ve purposely set that path. With that being said, I’m not going to lie to you, I think it’d be pretty fun. If it could help, obviously we’d consider it but he’d have to consider it as well. We’ve got great coaches already. But we’ll see.”
The Ryan brothers last coached together under their father, Buddy, with the Arizona Cardinals in 1994-95.
The Bills next face Philadelphia, a team Rob Ryan faced with the Saints earlier this season.
The Bills could be without starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore against the Eagles.
Gilmore left Sunday’s win against the Texans with a shoulder injury, telling The Buffalo News after the game he felt it “pop out.”
“We’ll see how it goes,” Ryan said Monday. “He did leave with a shoulder. A lot of times, when you don’t return in games that’s usually an indicator that it may be a stretch but we’ll see how he feels. Obviously, he’s a guy that if he can go we need him out there. There’s no question about it because he is a tremendous player for us.”
Reserve cornerback Ron Brooks (shoulder) and inside linebacker Tony Steward (back) also left Sunday’s win and will require more evaluation before their status for Week 14 is known.
Gilmore, who was scheduled for an MRI on Monday, isn’t expected to miss the rest of the season, Ryan said.
“I think you can rule that out,” he said.
Running back Karlos Williams (shoulder) and right tackle Seantrel Henderson should be able to return to face the Eagles, but right guard John Miller (ankle) and linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) might miss at least another week.
Ryan, however, wasn’t counting Bradham out just yet.
“This dude, he’s like a Jeep. As long as you got one or two lug nuts on it, he’s going to play,” Ryan said. “He’s a tough guy.”
Safety Aaron Williams, who is on short-term injured reserve because of a neck injury, is eligible to be activated and resume playing, but Ryan said that wouldn’t happen this week. Williams isn’t even ready to practice yet.
“We like where he’s at and hopefully at the end of the year, we’ll be able to use him,” Ryan said, “and he’ll be able to play for us. But we’re not going to put him out there until we know. Our trainers are on top of it. He’s been working out with our strength coaches and conditioning and all that.”
Asked if it’s 50/50 he’ll be back, Ryan said “that’s probably where it is.”
Dan Carpenter is having the second-worst year of his professional career.
But the Bills’ kicker isn’t in danger of losing his job.
“We’re not getting rid of Dan Carpenter,” Rex Ryan said Monday afternoon, cutting right to the chase after Carpenter missed a field goal and an extra point during Buffalo’s 30-21 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Carpenter has now missed four extra points this season from the new 33-yard distance after having only missed two in his first seven seasons when it was from 20 yards. During Sunday’s games, there were nine missed extra points – more than there were all of last season (eight). So far in 2015, 54 extra points have been unsuccessful.
“Moving that thing back, there’s a lot of people who miss kicks,” Ryan said. “Look, we’ve got a veteran kicker. You guys know he can kick in the conditions, and not everybody can do that.”
Carpenter, through his first two seasons with Buffalo, made 90.5 percent of his field goals. He has made just 80 percent so far this year, converting 16 of 20 attempts. His latest miss came Sunday when he hit the left upright from 50 yards.
“You can’t kick it better than he kicked it,” Ryan said. “The extra point, obviously, we wish we had back.”
On the missed extra point, which came after the Bills had taken a 26-21 lead in the fourth quarter, holder Colton Schmidt was unable to get the laces out. As any Ace Ventura fan knows, that’s bad news for a kicker.
“I think Colton probably wishes he had that hold back a little bit,” Ryan said. “I don’t think it was exactly where we wanted. We ended up kicking the laces on that one.”
Ryan said Carpenter’s issues with extra points would not lead to an increase in two-point conversion attempts. The Bills are just 1 for 4 when going for two this year.
“I say no, but obviously if there’s a gale-force wind or something that shows up, which we’re hoping for the last two games of the regular season, then maybe,” Ryan said, “but if the conditions are what they are, or what they were this past week, then no, we’ll just go ahead and kick it. I’m confident in Dan.”