It took former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan three weeks to find a new job; it just happened to be the one not many expected. As the new Head Coach o the Buffalo Bills, Ryan has to be excited at the roster he inherits compared to his former employer. In fact, the Bills actually posses a team filled with his roster requirements, and cap space to add more pieces in order to complete a quick turnaround.
As a defensive wizard, Ryan looks for pass rushers, corners able to play man coverage, run stuffing middle linebackers, and defensive tackles able to penetrate quickly. The Bills retain the majority of those qualifications as they employ Mario Williams, Stephon Gilmore, Nigel Bradham and Marcell Dareus.
Comparatively, the Jets did have Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, but poor drafting the past four years have left much to be desired. They were never able to replace Darrelle Revis in the secondary and Bart Scott in the middle, among other cap casualties. With a cupboard containing only minimum ingredients Ryan was hamstrung by the front office’s mistakes in the draft and their refusal to not spending in free agency.
Included in the defensive upgrades, Ryan clearly has more resources on offense in Buffalo than on the Jets. The Bills already contain a legitimate game breaker in Sammy Watkins, who Ryan knows very well with his son attending Clemson, and have a solid complementary receiver in Robert Woods. Ryan got Percy Harvin late last year, but otherwise didn’t have any other subsequent receivers to help his struggling quarterback, or create space for Harvin.
In addition to all of this is the more consistent, and less turnover prone, starting quarterback EJ Manuel. The Jets had Geno Smith who has not been able to solidify himself as an NFL starter. It’s worth noting that Manuel was benched in favor of veteran Kyle Orton five games in this year, but he still possess the physical talent to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
This isn’t to say Manuel is the guaranteed starter, but instead that maybe spending time on the bench, and getting snubbed from a coach no longer present, will help motivate Manuel to make good on his physical skills. With new offensive coordinator Greg Roman coming in he could be the greatest help Manuel has had since coming to Buffalo.
It also helps that Roman is possibly the best offensive coordinator Ryan could have hired. Roman brings the power run game philosophy from San Francisco, and after helping develop Colin Kaepernick to a solid NFL starter he could be the saving grace to Manuel’s NFL career.
Which is to say that the Roman hire is the cherry on top for Ryan. He now possesses great defensive pieces, a game breaking offensive player, and a competent offensive coordinator. With his skills at developing mauling offensive lineman and finding successful players at the running back, then Rex Ryan may be what the doctor ordered to get the Bills over the hump and end their 15 year playoff drought.