1. Rex Ryan used some creative math Wednesday in saying quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been without "four or five" of his best receivers. Here is the breakdown of games missed this season for the Bills' receivers who started the season on the 53-man roster: Greg Salas-10, Sammy Watkins-8, Robert Woods-3, Walter Powell-1, Marquise Goodwin-1, Brandon Tate-1. During the season, the Bills acquired Justin Hunter and Percy Harvin. Hunter has not missed any time, while Harvin played in just two games before his migraine headaches resurfaced and he was shut down for the season after making two catches for 6 yards.
In just one game have the Bills been without both Watkins and Woods. That came in Week Seven at Miami, a game in which the team blew an 11-point second-half lead.
It's hard to see exactly how Ryan gets to "four or five" receivers. The injury to Watkins has been a tough one, no doubt. Not having Woods the past two games also hasn't been ideal. But after that, the injury excuse goes out the window. The team thought so little of Salas, it released him from injured reserve. Harvin spent all of two games on the active roster, so to say his contribution is missed is flat-out wrong. The one-game absences of Powell, Goodwin and Tate should hardly be insurmountable for a competent passing attack.
2. For all of Ryan's glowing support of Taylor, which included a gem Wednesday when he said "I believe that Tyrod Taylor's an outstanding quarterback," he certainly threw his quarterback under the bus Monday.
Asked why in two years his defense has not come anywhere close to playing at an elite level, Ryan said: "I'm not sure. At times we play pretty good, and then there are other times, mistake here or whatever, that's kind of what yesterday (was). We weren’t perfect with alignment, assignment and technique and it ended up hurting us obviously in that game. Why that is, I'm not sure.
"Sometimes we press a little it seems like and that's where you got to be at your best, in those pressure situations and unfortunately yesterday for us that wasn’t the case. Obviously we have to be able to throw the football if people are going to get it down there a little bit. That has been inconsistent and obviously that can help us, too."
Again, that was in response to a question about his defense. Talk about passing the buck.
3. Now four days removed from his explanation on why the Bills ran twice at the end of the first half, then attempted a pass that was incomplete, I still can't understand what Ryan is talking about. That ugly sequence allowed the Raiders to get the ball back with enough time left to drive for a field goal before halftime. If the Bills were simply going to sit on their 10-6 lead, there was no reason to throw the ball on third down. That's what Ryan seemed to be saying when he said he told offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn he wasn't going to use his timeouts. My question is, why not? Did Ryan really think that a four-point lead was going to be good enough against Oakland? Considering the Bills blew a 15-point lead in the second half, that clearly wasn't the case. It was a classic example of coaching scared. Ryan lacked faith in his offense – perhaps understandably so given Taylor's limitations – and his defense.