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Buffalo Bills coach staff: 2016 better or worse than 2015?

The Bills had some high profile changes on their coaching staff. Did it make them better or worse?

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

As we approach training camp, it’s time to take a look at the Buffalo Bills to see if they actually improved from last year’s 8-8 squad. We’re going to start with the coaching staff.


  • Rob Ryan - asst. head coach/defense
  • Ed Reed - asst. defensive backs coach
  • John Blake - defensive line coach
  • Kathryn Smith - special teams quality control coach


  • Donnie Henderson - defensive backs coach
  • Karl Dunbar - defensive line coach
  • Michael Hamlin - special teams quality control coach

Rex Ryan consolidated his position as the master of the Bills defense by adding three extremely loyal people to his coaching staff in his twin brother Rob, longtime player Reed, and Blake, who was on the fringe of football before getting the call from Rex. If Rex is going down, he’s going to do it with incredibly loyal people at his side.

Rob Ryan’s experience should be a good addition to the coaching staff, especially because he’s not calling the plays. The loss of Henderson could be a big deal but Tim McDonald, his replacement, was with the Bills a year ago and has had success coaching defensive backs in the past for Rex Ryan.

The single biggest factor in my grade is the beginning of 2015, where Rex tried to merge his scheme with the pre-existing scheme. It failed miserably. With the full implementation of his scheme this offseason, the hope is that Rex can be Rex and his defense can return to form.

Verdict: Better

The addition of Rob and the loss of Henderson will cancel each other out. Rex’s defense will be “fully pregnant.” Agree or disagree?