Filed to ESPN: Bills putting finishing touches on deal that will make Rex Ryan their next HC, per sources. More on Sunday NFL Countdown.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2015
Just a couple more I's to dot and T's to cross, but Rex Ryan now expected to be the next Buffalo Bills HC. First domino falls!— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2015
Ryan, 52, interviewed for the job this past Thursday, then spent Saturday evening interviewing with the Pegulas again. The former head coach of the New York Jets was 46-50 in his six seasons in New Jersey, a run which included two playoff berths and two AFC Championship Game appearances.
Considered one of the brightest defensive minds in the business, Ryan inherits a Bills defense that has three Pro Bowl defensive linemen (two of them are even first-team All Pros), and which finished in the Top 5 in 2014. Since 2005, Ryan's defenses - whether in Baltimore as the defensive coordinator, or in New York - have not finished below a No. 12 ranking in the NFL. Basically, the Bills are going to have an awesome defense again in 2015.
He'll also undoubtedly be a popular hire for a Bills locker room that had its previous head coach abandon them on New Year's Eve. Ryan has always been a coach for which players love to play.
I'm told Rex Ryan really liked Terry & Kim Pegula, who made clear they wanted him. Expect some members of his NYJ staff to join him in BUF.— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) January 11, 2015
It's a big-splash signing for the Pegulas in their first coaching search, and once it's official, the Bills' football team will be headed up by one of the biggest personalities in the business. The next shoes to drop, however, will be critically important: Ryan will need to knock his offensive coordinator hire out of the park (he's rumored to be in league with former Chicago head coach Marc Trestman on that front), and the Bills will need to find him a competent quarterback, as well.
What are your initial reactions to this news, Bills fans? My own initial thought: holy crap, Bills-Jets and Bills-Patriots just became 100 percent more interesting for the foreseeable future.