By Annie Ross
There is no NFL coach on a hotter seat this Friday morning than blowhard Buffalo Bills head man Rex Ryan.
His team lost to his former team, the New York Jets, last night at home 37-31 after having lost its opener five days ago and they sit at 0-2.
The Bills finished 2015 with a lackluster 8-8 record, and after putting up just seven points in its season opener against the Ravens, Ryan finds himself in a rather precarious situation.
He’s now third in Bovada’s first-coach-to-be-fired sweepstakes at 7/1, and he’s resorted to a foul-mouthed speech in a desperate attempt to motivate his players.
Fire Rex Ryan and you need to find somebody to fill that spot, at least temporarily. If you fill it with somebody internal you have the same problem just further down the food chain. The same problem exists with Rob Ryan, Rex’s brother and his assistant, who would probably follow Rex out of the door if the axe falls.
No team, no matter how disappointing, wants to replace its head coach and defensive coordinator on such short notice. You might be able to get it all done in a bye week (the Bills’ is in week 10), but it’d still be impossibly difficult.
Besides, even if Rex were to get fired, his imprint would still be all over this team. You’re not going to throw out the playbook, or cut whatever players you don’t like mid-season. The best a new coach could do is slowly transition away from the ideas of his predecessors, which isn’t likely to revolutionize results on the field. The trajectory for the season has already been set.
For as disappointing as the Bills have looked under Rex Ryan, and for as embarrassing as his bullish declarations may be, these simply aren’t battles the franchise wants to fight right now. You only pull that lever when the atmosphere around the team becomes so poisonous that you have no other choice.
It’s why it doesn’t happen. Joe Philbon was fired after four games last season but had been there for the previous three seasons. George Allen was canned halfway through the 1977 preseason but only after the players staged an all-out revolt. Bill Belichick is technically the shortest-tenured coach in the league after taking charge of the Jets for one day in 2000, but only for reasons that extended far beyond football.
Maybe Rex turns things around and it all becomes a moot point. He’ll certainly hope so. No winning seasons in his last five as a head coach is simply not good enough, but the Bills still won’t want to write-off its season so soon. They’ve punted on Ryan’s future, allowing him to hire his brother as one last show of faith.
Rex’s time is running out, but he’ll still have one last chance to get it right.