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Locker Room Shuffle

So the Buffalo Bills have hired Rex Ryan as their new coach, and my New York Jets have hired Todd Bowles, formerly the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryan's opening press conference with the Bills was very impressive.  He seemed to be the old Rex again, brimming with confidence and swagger, all leavened with a healthy sense of humor.  He promised to make the Bills a "bully," a team that no one will want to play.  I believe him.

I have not seen Bowles address the media yet.  Must admit, I don't know much about him.  He has a good resume, and from what I hear, a very different persona than Rex.  They are both defensive coaches, but Rex is a so-called player's coach while Bowles is a disciplinarian.  Which might be great if the Jets suffered from a lack of discipline, but I really don't think that was their problem.  It was lack of talent, especially at the quarterback position, that doomed Gang Green.

Ryan and Bowles both face the same problem: neither the Bills nor the Jets has a NFL-calibre starting quarterback, in a league where you really need a star at that position.  Buffalo got by last year with journeyman Kyle Orton, who has since retired, leaving them only with E.J. Manuel.  The Jets have Geno Smith.  Manuel and Smith were both high drafts picks, and both appear to be busts.  Backing up Smith, the Jets have the aging Michael Vick.  The Bills... I have no idea, actually.

Unless Marcus Mariota falls to sixth in the draft, or the Jets pick up a new quarterback in free agency, I fear they are going to have another very bad year in 2015.  Neither Geno Smith nor Michael Vick is the answer.  And Rex may not fare much better in Buffalo.

But both teams should have hellancious defenses.  Maybe they will play a couple of 0-0 ties next season.



Jan. 15th, 2015 08:14 pm (UTC)
College football?
Are you a fan of college football at all? Did you watch my Buckeyes with the National Championship?
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:39 pm (UTC)
Re: College football?
I was out that night, so I didn't see the game, but I did see Ohio State beat Alabama the week before.

Nice to see the Big Ten back. After all, I'm a Northwestern alum, so that's my conference.
Jan. 15th, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC)
Draft will not fix Jets woes
Even if the Jets are able to draft Mariota (they aren't) or Winston (maybe) these guys are not the (immediate) solution for the Jets, it's more of the same. Look at the remaining QBs in the playoffs ... Rodgers, Luck, Brady, Wilson. Of these, only Wilson is considered mobile and I think most would argue that he's better known for his decision making and accuracy. These skill sets are not drafted, they are groomed. The Jets need a guy at the helm that can properly manage the game without losing it via the turnover - Alex Smith of the Chiefs is a perfect example of this. Nothing flashy about him, but he's effective as an NFL QB. They should try to acquire a guy like Glennon from TB if they want a safe solution ... that or draft/acquire a squad full of giant one dimensional run block specialists and lean heavy on the run and stout defense.
Jan. 16th, 2015 01:13 am (UTC)
Re: Draft will not fix Jets woes
Look at the remaining QBs in the playoffs ... Rodgers, Luck, Brady, Wilson. Of these, only Wilson is considered mobile

Have you not seen Rodgers and Luck play. Both are tremendously mobile. They are skilled pocket quarterbacks, but both run exceptionally well when they choose to.
Jan. 15th, 2015 08:37 pm (UTC)
So your a Jets and Giants fan? uh...why? You gotta pick one or the other buddy.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:40 pm (UTC)
Re: ?
No. I don't.
Matthew DiGiacomo
Jan. 21st, 2015 03:13 am (UTC)
Re: ?
Honestly I never understood why some people feel this false dichotomy of fandom when 2 teams inhabit the same city. Liking the Jets & Giants are most certainly not mutually exclusive! As a Jets fan I root for the Giants every game they aren't playing the Jets, & I was still very excited to see NY win those Superbowls.
Jan. 15th, 2015 08:40 pm (UTC)
Well, Sanchez is a free agent and is better than E.J. Manuel. That would be one strange reunion!

With both Jameis Winston and Mariota, it's just possible that the Jets may get one of them ... or they could grab a WR and hope for a serviceable QB like Sanchez.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't want Winston. I hope he goes to Tampa Bay, and that Mariota drops to us.
Jan. 15th, 2015 11:05 pm (UTC)
I like Mariota as a person. I think he has great potential as a QB. But he's been playing in a system that is unlike anything the NFL has, and could be a Kaepernick-type player; great until defenses figure out how to stop him. Any football team drafting a QB would probably do better to look at someone who's come out of a more pro-style offense, and sit their rookie for the first year or so.

Winston feels like the second coming of Ryan Leaf.
Jan. 16th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
Oh, god, no. Buffalo has had enough re-treads at QB since Jim Kelley retired.

I admit some surprise that the Bills snagged Ryan, given how good their defense was (despite, not because of, their previous head coach) ; I don't see how Rex will be able to make it much better due to diminishing returns. Buffalo needs a way to score points, and that means someone healthy to tote the rock, and someone to get it into Sammy Watkins' and Scott Chandler's hands on the regular.
Mike Rubin
Jan. 15th, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC)
It's tough...
Tough to be a Bills or Jets fan these days. I'm a Bills fan, and even with a 9-7 record last year it's tough to be real optimistic about next year. Rex may be an improvement over Marrone, but you're right, without a QB we're not going anywhere. Doubtful Manuel will amount to anything, and there aren't any free agent QBs worth anything. Will either team make a trade? We'll see...
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
I've tried to get football
As a European, your football seems a weird sport, but recently I tried to understand why you Americans like it so much by learning some basic rules. Now it actually looks like a nice sport. Yet I still don't know any players except for some blokes in this blog, and I cheer for the Giants and the Jets, because they're the only teams I know. I guess it kind of looks like European football, where I used to know every player of every single club, I don't know why, but there's just an appeal to these sports that others don't seem to achieve.

Edited at 2015-01-15 09:43 pm (UTC)
Pat Coughlin
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:31 pm (UTC)
Giants DC
Apparently they're hiring Steve Spagnuolo, who spent last year as the Ravens Secondary coach. The Ravens secondary... which made a dumpster fire look appealing.

Granted, they had a ton of injuries. But *one* cornerback gave up 220ish yards and 2 TDs to Brady last week, and they couldn't scheme something up? I'd be a bit concerned about that position coach moving up to take a whole defense again.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Giants DC
Spags was a great defensive coordinator for the Giants. It was his D that defeated Tom Brady and the 18-0 Patriots. I'd be thrilled to have him back.
Jan. 19th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Giants DC
Here's my GoT-esque theory on the hiring of Spags (who I love). They brought him in with full knowledge that he'll take the head coaching reins after Coughlin finishes out his contract and then retires. They'll make a show of it in the off-season, interviewing other candidates and the like, but in the meantime it all stays in the "family", as the Giants seem to like to do.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:34 pm (UTC)
I decided yesterday that I'm betting on the Jets in the Superbowl next month. It's the first game all season I know for sure they can't lose. :)

Looking forward to once again proudly donning my green next season. Which is good because I receive four new Jets tees, sweatshirts and jackets for Christmas. I suspect there was a very big sale on Jets merchandise in local stores.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
Coach Morghulis
Hi George, big fan of your books. I also happen to be a New Englander who loves the Patriots. I was wondering what it is about coach Belichick that makes you hate him. Was it him backing out as the coach of the Jets? Spygate? His grumpy press conference attitude? Every single thing about him? Don't forget, evil coach Bill was a coordinator on some pretty great Giants teams. That's got to count for something, right? Thanks, I love the football posts, even if I hate both of your teams.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Coach Morghulis
BB was a great defensive coordinator, no doubt of it. And he has been a great head coach. But he is hard to like for all sorts of reasons. Spygate, sure. The press conferences. (He is sour and humorless, in contrast to Rex, who always showed a lot of humanity). The way he ran up the score those seasons when the pats were dominant. The nasty way he treated Eric Mangini when EM left the Pats to coach the Jets. The cold-blooded way he dumps his veteran players, even ones who have bled and fought for him for years. (Yeah, I know, it's business. It's still lousy).

All that is minor compared to his one-day tenure as Jets HC, however. It was not just that he left, but the WAY he did it. He had a contract. He did not honor it. Leon Hess had paid him a million dollars a year before, to keep him there. If he was going to break his word and jump ship, at least he should have returned the million dollars. That at least would have been honorable.

Edited at 2015-01-15 09:52 pm (UTC)
Jan. 16th, 2015 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: Coach Morghulis
Well, I love BB but those are all pretty good reasons. I never liked his reaction to Mangini trying to better himself. And I cringe at the press conferences a lot. Appreciate your response, and I'm sorry you lost your coach. I was relieved to see him go, only to find that he's right back in our division. But he makes things interesting. And like Baltimore, he knows the secret to beating New England: you gotta smack 'em in the mouth.
Jan. 15th, 2015 09:58 pm (UTC)
LOVED seeing Rex back to his old boasting self at the press conference, and it makes me so happy that he's calling out the Pats over the Jets as his #1 target to beat down next year. He's always played the Patriots tough (minus the Thanksgiving Day -- Butt fumble game), and I fully expect him to keep giving Belichick hell since he knows he'll get to keep facing him twice a year.

However, this "declaration" Rex's made about this being his last coaching gig EVER is terrifying to me. A lot of speculation going around that he's ultimately set himself up for failure given all the question marks surrounding the Bills QB situation right now, and if the Bills don't reach the playoffs within the next 3-4 years (MAX), I fear we can expect to see a second pink slip for him in just a decade's time.

With that said, the overall success of the Bills is not really my concern, but I'm interesting to hear what other Rex and/or Bills fans think of the situation....Can he continue his legacy in Buffalo as the ultimate "player's-coach" and finally lead the Bills to playoff berth, or will the current lack of an offense lead to his utter demise?

But most importantly...Who else thinks he can AND will persuade Revis to join him for the second coming?

Edited at 2015-01-15 10:20 pm (UTC)
Jim Myers
Jan. 15th, 2015 10:40 pm (UTC)
As a Bills fan I'm pretty excited about Rex. Of course the sorry pack of coaches we've endured this century included Wade Phillips, Dick Jauron, Chan Gailey and Benedict Marrone so basically any proven head coach who shows signs of having a pulse on the sideline looks good by comparison. But our playoff drought is so large now it has become a dark cloud over the team's psyche and Rex is exactly the kind of coach that can snap the funk and convince them WE WILL go to the playoffs. Plus handing him our defense is like handing Rembrandt a canvas and some paint. Rex will still have to improve on his game managment flaws and stop picking terrible OCs (unsure if Greg Roman will work out or not). Whiffing on drafting a quarterback traditionally takes 5 years to recover from and we're only in Year 3, with no promising solution in sight. We could still panic and fall into the one of the dual pit traps of signing Jay Cutler or signing Mark Sanchez. But still, I'm pretty excited.

I think Bowles will be good for your Jets, at least based on his defensive play calling ability. Cards had a million injuries and a laughable QB situation and still played great defense. I admit I was sort of hoping Doug Marrone would become your coach, partly because of the extra drama that would add to Jets-Bills games and partly because two teams missing the playoffs and then swapping coaches would be the most non-Patriots AFC East thing to do ever.
Jan. 15th, 2015 10:48 pm (UTC)
The Bowles hire just doesn't move the meter at all for me. NY team should be able to attract and pay a much higher profile coach (like Gruden or whoever). Make them GM also and pay them the bucks and you likely won't be searching again for another coach in 2-5 years.

Jan. 15th, 2015 11:48 pm (UTC)
This has been the most nauseating coaching shuffle of my life. Bills and Broncos, oh man.
Jan. 16th, 2015 05:22 am (UTC)
I guess we have to wait until tomorrow for your Steve Spagnuolo post. :)
Jan. 16th, 2015 09:09 pm (UTC)
The Bills
This news does bode well for the Bills.

Hopefully they can find a QB that can channel my old hero, Jim Kelly - there was never a better warrior QB in the game, he would go headfirst into anything, loved his team, and fought for every win.

The Buffalo Bills are sort of Canada's adoptive team, and many season ticket holders are from up here, not to mention many folks who drive down for a few games per year. We love our Bills. I was so excited when I heard the news about coaching next year.

I think they're going to be very tough, the one team everyone will be talking about, how nobody wants to play them. Should be a fantastic NFL season next year.

Edited at 2015-01-16 09:11 pm (UTC)
Jan. 17th, 2015 10:35 pm (UTC)
Dave Marrone is the biggest loser of the offseason
Quit his job at Buffalo and left over $5 million on the table. He was going to get a 1 year extensive so i think he left $10 million on the table. He likely expected to get the Jets job. Then he turned down an interview with the Broncos because he didn't like the competition.

He got really bad publicity the way he quit the bills. He did a good job with them, but with the way he left... I'm not sure he will get another head coaching job ever. He may have trouble getting a coordinator or position coach job with the way he acted.

I'd take $10m to suffer through getting my views over ruled in buffalo. Cause its $10 million.
Jeff Hellman
Jan. 19th, 2015 04:17 am (UTC)

I know that you dislike my Patriots, but you must admit that the Pats were pretty impressive today.

Jan. 20th, 2015 01:16 am (UTC)
Good Ser, even if the Jets get Mariota, it will be at least one season, perhaps more before he can learn the footwork necessary to move from under center and initiate the attack, something he did not do in his brilliant but not pro style play. Expecting to get a pro style player from the very talented Mariota out of the gate is not realistic. Real craftsmanship takes time and cannot be rushed. Jets fans are going to have to be extremely patient and must be prepared to wait years for the team to work like a finished product.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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