There’s a lot in football that turns out exactly like you plan it. You can set your watch by the Patriots being one of the best teams in the league no matter who is at quarterback or if Gronk is in or out, that the Packers will find some way to end up the champs of their division and that no matter how excited we might get at the start of the season, the Cleveland Browns will unfortunately not have a winning record by the end of it.
Rex Ryan and whatever team he’s coaching is a totally different story. Who the hell knows what’s going to happen there?
Your latest example of Rex being Rex: Buffalo goes 0-2 and the team decided to right the ship that they needed to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a move that had a lot of people on Twitter using clever gifs to show how incredibly perplexed they were that the Bills would do that to get things working.
And then it maybe did work? Something definitely happened and the Bills beat an Arizona Cardinals team we’re led to believe can still make a run, even though they’re tied for last in the NFC West with the San Francisco 49ers (it’s still early, etc.). There was reason to celebrate in Buffalo since the team was no longer winless, and the team’s coach, yet again, did that thing he’s done fairly often throughout his career, and got things fixed up.
Except now the Bills have to go to Foxborough and play the seemingly unbeatable Patriots, a team that is still not only without their star quarterback for one more game, but also a team that looks like it has gone through their backup options, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. So that means they’re starting wide receiver Julian Edelman at quarterback this week, right? That was the emergency to the emergency to the emergency option that was definitely never going to happen, yeah?
Maybe. Even Ryan wants to know.
New media member “Walt Patulski from the Buffalo News” jumps in with a hard-hitting question for Julian Edelman. ? pic.twitter.com/mBHrzIDeSx
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 28, 2016
Yeah, that’s Ryan posing as “Walt Patulski from the Buffalo News,” asking Edelman if he thinks he’s going to lead the offense this weekend. Not really such a bad idea, but also the most Rex Ryan way to both pull the spotlight onto him and his team, and also legitimately try and see if he can get the answer to help his defense figure out what they’re up against on Sunday. It’s funny, but you also have to imagine Ryan is seriously a man looking for answers. He’s always looking for those.
Ryan is equally the most entertaining and totally frustrating coach in football. You probably remember how he brought the New York Jets to two AFC title games in his first two seasons, then quickly became one of New York City media’s favorite targets to pick on as the team failed to miss the postseason the next four seasons in a row. The move to Buffalo was supposed to be something, although nobody was sure what. The team with one of the most dedicated and constantly let down fanbases in all of sports really deserve a great coach and a team that will finally, after all of those tries and the constant mentions of Scott Norwood’s wide right missed field goal attempt. The Bills are that team that you’d really like to see better things for.
But they got Ryan. Love him or hate him, he keeps things just interesting enough, but interesting doesn’t really win titles. Yet the funny thing about when Ryan’s team wins, it almost feels like they’re channeling Ryan’s inner-hate for their opponent. Like the two wins against their coach’s former team last season. Those two victories against the Jets might not seem like much on paper, but they did account for two out of the eight the team racked up. That’s a sizable enough percentage. The team feeds off their coach, and certain games just seem to get Ryan more fired up than others, it seems. Not going 0-3, and doing it against a Cardinals team that’s better than their record was another example of that.
That’s why it honestly wouldn’t come as a total shock if the Bills went into the Patriots home and ripped off a victory. Ryan smells blood. He knows things aren’t totally right in New England right now, and he can get his team worked up just enough to get them to believe that they can march into Foxborough and steal the biggest victory of their season and also his tenure as the team’s head coach.
He also needs the win. That’s why sometimes Ryan feels like less of a coach and more like a character in Glengarry Glen Ross or Gil from The Simpsons. He’s like a salesman who really needs a sale this week because he doesn’t want to hear the bosses yell at him again.
It could happen, and it would be huge for Buffalo and Ryan. But would it really matter? Ryan wins a big game here and there, but the team he’s leading still falters and looks to strange people and areas like the reliable offensive coordinator for blame. If they can pull it off, a win this Sunday would be massive for the coach and his team. But will it really matter? Is it just another short-term Rex Ryan fix? Or could this be the start of something good in Buffalo?