When I covered the AFC East for ESPN, one of the top storylines involved how much players with the Ravens and Jets adored Rex Ryan and how those who didn’t play for him craved the chance.
Bills players haven’t expressed similar sentiments.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin, a Ryan loyalist from their days with the Jets, reportedly will sit out 2016. Tyrod Taylor’s agent, presumably with the quarterback’s blessing, went on national radio Thursday and blamed Ryan’s defense and a lack of discipline for missing the playoffs. Three free agents departed to play for Buffalo’s previous defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, in Philly.
Linebacker A.J. Tarpley’s decision to retire doesn’t relate directly to Ryan. There are others whose desire to play will outweigh concussion fears. That’s a personal decision.
But Tarpley represents an NFL shift. While frothy rah-rah talk still can make some players run through walls, pure bravado just isn’t cutting it anymore.
We’ve heard all Ryan’s jokes and proclamations before. They’re getting tiresome. Maybe players aren’t paying as much attention either.