Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan has heard the criticism being leveled at him for hiring his twin brother, Rob Ryan, to help run the Bills' defense despite a recent lack of success for both coaches, chiefly Rob. In two separate interviews conducted this week, Ryan made it clear that he doesn't think he has anything to prove - but that he and the Bills' entire defensive coaching staff enter the 2016 season with a chip on their shoulder.
"I think when you look at our history, I don't think there's a whole lot that we do really need to redeem ourselves, but trust me - there's a chip on our shoulders, and we're going to prove it," Ryan told John Murphy this week. "And the great thing is, we're going to prove it together. I always said that I've never been whipped in a fight in my life, and I've fought a lot of times. People say 'Oh, yeah, okay' - no, the difference is, I've got my twin brother with me. I've got my twin brother with me (again), and we don't plan on losing this fight, either."
Rex Ryan also told Murphy in a video interview for BuffaloBills.com that his brother turned down better coaching opportunities around the league to coach with his brother in Buffalo.
"He turned down some coordinating jobs to come here in this capacity," Ryan told Murphy. "I think the big thing is, we want to win, and we want to win together, and (we) have this opportunity to build something that we can both be proud of, and all of us can be proud of. And that's something that's really appealing to him, and certainly appealing to me."
Rob Ryan's arrival in Buffalo causes a bit of a shift on the Bills' defensive coaching staff, with coordinator Dennis Thurman expected to focus more on defensive backs than he has in the past while the Ryan brothers run the ship. The way Rex presents this shift, everybody's on board.
"I can already tell you this - our guys are so excited that he's here already," Ryan said on WGR 550 on Friday. "Tim McDonald, Bobby April - guys are like 'Oh, my goodness.' We know the benefit he's going to bring to the table, his passion, everything else, and his expertise. I think it’s going to be a huge, huge help for us."
Adding Rob Ryan to the coaching staff was easily the most significant coaching change that Rex Ryan has made this offseason, but Ryan insists that the familial aspect of his coaching staff extends beyond his twin brother. That notion spearheaded a mini-rant on WGR 550 in which Ryan again addressed the criticism being leveled at the defense, and the changes made to the coaching staff. It sounds a lot like he's anxious for the 2016 season to begin.
"Especially with the group of guys we have on defense - I’ve been around Dennis Thurman now for, you know, 12 or 13 years, something like that, so he’s a brother to me. Jeff Weeks, I've known him longer than I have my wife, and I’ve been married for 30 years," Ryan said. "We have a family type, there's no doubt about it, and I can tell you this - our family is taking it personal. I don't like being criticized. I think it's hilarious. I look at it, I'm like alright, just look at the backgrounds, see what happens. Somebody's going to be right, and I know who that somebody is. And we get to prove it, and that's the beauty of it. But you know what? I've loaded the boat, I've got it in here. I preach about being tight, being close-knit, no trap doors. There ain't no trap door out there. There better not be, or that person will be gone. To me, this is all about us. We are all in this thing together, and we're not going to let anything prevent us from being the type of team that we want to be."