In a recent interview on ESPN's Mike and Mike, Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan admitted that part of the reason that his defense was so disappointing in 2015 was because he tried to merge elements of his defense with the scheme that was run by his predecessor, Jim Schwartz, for his players last season.
"The year before, Buffalo’s defense was really outstanding, I think ranked fourth in the league and things," Ryan told the hosts. "It was unusual for us. We really thought we’d bring it together. I probably did some things that, when I go back and look at things, we’re going to do things much differently next year, and we’re going to be better because of it."
Pressed by Mike Golic for a more detailed explanation, Ryan became more specific.
"In a way, I tried to merge a couple of things, two systems and things like that, and quite honestly it didn't work," Ryan admitted. "We're going to be all in, and we're going to play Buffalo Bill defense, and we're not going to be fun to play."
Bills general manager Doug Whaley was asked about Ryan's departure from his usual scheme in a subsequent appearance on The John Murphy Show, and followed the same line of thought in his reply.
"That's one of those things where, I give him credit: he was trying to make the transition as easy as possible," Whaley told Murphy. "Change is difficult no matter what you're changing. I give him credit, and he understood that that wasn't the best course of action, and he's ready to rectify it. And like I said at the year-end press conference, I have complete confidence in him and his ability to coach. You just don't fall off the wagon and be a bad coach in a year. He's not a bad coach. He tried to do something that wasn't to his heart, and what made him who he is. I know he'll get back, and we're here to give him every piece of the puzzle to get it there."
Time will tell which puzzle pieces from 2015 will be jettisoned in favor of different puzzle pieces for the 2016 campaign.