According to a report filed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter this morning, the Bills are likely to move on from embattled head coach Rex Ryan this offseason, regardless of what happens over the team’s final three games.
Schefter notes, “Ryan is aware of what's ahead, sources said, which creates an awkward situation surrounding the Bills until the change is made.” He also points out that general manager Doug Whaley is likely to keep his job and head up yet another coaching search, which would be his third since taking over the GM post in 2013.
The Bills are currently 14-15 under Ryan since the start of last season. If they can win two of their final three games (not an impossible feat, even for this team), Ryan will be the first Bills head coach with a winning record since Wade Phillips went 21-11 in 1998 and 1999 (I presume you all know the significance of that year by now).
Record aside, the team has faced some serious turmoil on both sides of the ball. The Bills switched offensive coordinators early in the season, a move that provided an initial jolt in the form of a four-game winning streak. The offense has produced points throughout the season, although the development of Tyrod Taylor into a franchise quarterback has stalled amid a slew of injuries and a focus on the running game.
While the offense is still putting up points, Ryan’s much-vaunted defense currently sits at 17th in points allowed and 18th in yards allowed. In the 27-20 loss to the Steelers last Sunday, the Bills allowed LeVeon Bell to gain a total of 298 yards of offense, more than the Bills’ entire offense could muster (275).
While the national media should always be taken with a grain of salt, Schefter is more respected than most. Reports like this coming from him should carry some weight, and even if the Bills do stick with Ryan it should be noted that he remains on very shaky ground.
If they don’t? Well, we might not remember the playoffs all that well, but we all know what a good coaching search feels like.