Welcome to Buffalo, Mr. Ryan

Rex Ryan is welcomed to Buffalo with a custom Pizza from La Nova.

Rex Ryan is welcomed to Buffalo with a custom Pizza from La Nova.

If you read my article last week, you’ll know that I was the crazy one who said Rex Ryan was going to Buffalo.  Rex decided to go with the Bills over teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears.  As a lifelong Jet fan, I can assure the great people of Western New York that they will like what they get from big sexy Rex.

What we know

From day one with the Jets, Rex stressed a few things – defense, humor and winning.  Rex, since his days with the Ravens, has been known for his aggressive 3-4 defense.  Although he is inheriting a 3-4 defense with the Bills, he runs a much different style than ex-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.  Rex and current defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman have come up with some of the most exotic and creative blitz schemes in the past decade.  Rex has no problem sending the house after prominent quarterbacks.  To do so, Rex relies on hard-hitting safeties over the middle of the field, and cornerbacks that can play solid man coverage.  As it stands right now, Rex is going to need add a few more pieces to the secondary to make his defense work in Buffalo. 

Rex is a winning coach, but has failed to do so the past few years with the Jets.  Rex brought the Jets to 2 AFC Championship games with beleaguered quarterback Mark Sanchez.  These 2 years were the most successful years in a long time in New York.  With a steady dosage of ground and pound football, Rex was able to create short-term success with the Jets.  The problem Rex ran into with the Jets was an ageing defense combined with a lack of talent on offense.  When players like Shaun Ellis, Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Alan Faneca, and Bart Scott moved on from the team, there was a serious lack of leadership and commitment.  Rex had to try and rebuild a franchise without salary cap space and a General Manager who did not believe in him.  Ultimately, this led to the end of the Rex Ryan era in New York.

Can’t stop a nosebleed!

With Jim Schwartz out, Dennis Thurman will become the Bills new defensive coordinator.  If you aren’t sold on Rex, do some research on Dennis Thurman.  Thurman is one of the best dudes in the NFL.  He is a hard-working, blue collar, full of energy gentleman who doesn’t take no for an answer.  He is the mirror image of what Buffalo wants in their players, coaches, front office staff, etc.  For a lack of a better term, the guy is the man.  Expect the Bills defense to continue its great success and continued effort under Ryan and Thurman.  I think its safe to say you can expect a few more blitz packages as well.

With a few missing pieces on the Bills defense, look for Rex and staff to go out into free agency and add some veteran leadership.  I really would not be surprised if Rex pushed the front office to bring in Antonio Cromartie.  Rex absolutely loved Cro when he was with the Jets and begged former-GM John Idzik to resign him.  Some Bills fans might be rolling there eyes right now, but answer this – Did you hear any problems about Cro when he was with the Arizona Cardinals this year?

That’s Offensive

Rex is going from virtually no offense with the Jets to a much improved offense in the Buffalo Bills.  Although the Bills quarterback is in question, this is not the number one concern for Ryan.  Rex has always been old school and loves the ground and pound style of offense.  The Bills need to figure out there running back situation first.  I truly believe CJ Spiller is gone.  The oft-injured running back is going to get big money from a desperate team, à la the Stephen Jackson contract with the Atlanta Falcons from a few years ago.  Let him go!  You have Fred Jackson and can add a running back in the draft.  Look for the Bills to make a splash later in the draft at the running back position.  The Washington Redskins were able to do this just a few years back with Alfred Morris in the 6th round.

This year the NFL draft is not very deep at the quarterback position.  The Bills should be content.  Don’t reach for something that isn’t there (aka EJ Manuel). EJ is still under contract and the Bills can go out and sign vets like Matt Moore or Kyle Orton, again.  Look for the Bills to draft a quarterback in next years NFL draft if EJ Manuel does not show any promise this season.  Rome wasn’t built in one day, and the Bills offense won’t be either.

What to expect

Rex Ryan took in the Sabres game Tuesday night. (Pictured with Sabres team President Ted Black.

Rex Ryan took in the Sabres game Tuesday night. (Pictured with Sabres team President Ted Black.

Western New York have faith!  This is a process, not a product.  It is going to take a year or two to see some real results.  And hey, by that time, Tom Brady might be retired (thank God).  Rex is going to bring you an exciting, blue collar, hard-hitting defense.  Players are going to want to come to Buffalo and player for him.  The offense is going to take some time.  Bringing in someone like Greg Roman was a smart move by the Bills.  Roman seems to be just fine with being a coordinator.  Roman will be able to consult Rex in the draft next year and pick his guy.  This is hugely important, because Rex didn’t want Geno; John Idzik did, and now look at the Jets.  I think the Bills will play hard for Rex.  Expect some more exciting games in Buffalo!

All photo credits to buffalobills.com - http://www.buffalobills.com/photos/photo-gallery/Rex-Ryan-Arrives-in-Buffalo/9161e247-3c4f-41f2-a78f-6ea3cdb94d28