Buffalo Bills Hiring Rex Ryan Leads to Mixed Reactions

January 14th, 2015
The Buffalo Bills are turning to Rex Ryan, who spent the last six years with the New York Jets, to lead them as their new head coach. (Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn — USA Today Sports)

The Buffalo Bills are turning to Rex Ryan, who spent the last six years with the New York Jets, to lead them as their new head coach. (Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn — USA Today Sports)

BBD Columnist: Josh Cornwall

When the Buffalo Bills were spurned by head coach Doug Marrone just hours before the turn of the New Year, few could have predicted the 12-day journey that would lead them to hiring former New York Jets head man Rex Ryan. Despite a laundry list of candidates, including 12 who were interviewed for the head coach position, owners Terry and Kim Pegula wrangled in the former division rival.

They had their guy.

Bills fans have heard that sentiment before. Too much. But the Pegulas’ first major action as new owners had a different feel, for the first time since Wade Phillips took over the team’s coaching job in the late 1990s.

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2015 East-West Shrine Game Notes: Day 2 West Practice

January 13th, 2015
Kansas State center B.J. Finney (No. 72) was among the standouts of Tuesday's Shrine Game practice for the West team. (Photo: Dan Hope)

Kansas State center B.J. Finney (No. 72) was among the standouts of Tuesday’s Shrine Game practice for the West team. (Photo: Dan Hope)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The 2015 East-West Shrine Game’s week of practices is halfway complete. The West team took the field for its second practice session of the week Tuesday afternoon, at St. Petersburg High School, where some of Monday’s standouts impressed again but other players also took the spotlight, many positive but some negative.

The West team had better conditions to deal with Tuesday—at least in regards to the weather. While the sunny, warm skies were a big improvement over the pouring rain that hit the beginning of Monday afternoon’s session, players continued to have issues with slipping because of a worn-down grass field.

Of course, any player who wants to make it in the NFL will have to be able to deal with less-than-ideal conditions at the next level as well, so players are still expected to be on top of their games despite the conditions. Many of them were, including Kansas State center B.J. Finney, on Tuesday.

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Coaching Changes: Buffalo Bills Hire Greg Roman, Fire Jim Schwartz

January 13th, 2015
Greg Roman is in as the Buffalo Bills' new offensive coordinator. (Photo: Kyle Terada — USA Today Sports)

Greg Roman is in as the Buffalo Bills’ new offensive coordinator. (Photo: Kyle Terada — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff under new head coach Rex Ryan is starting to take shape. The Buffalo Bills announced the hiring of Greg Roman as offensive coordinator Tuesday, while they also announced the termination of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz from his contract.

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2015 East-West Shrine Game Notes: Day 2 East Practice

January 13th, 2015
Mike Singletary's East squad took the field for their second Shrine Game practice Tuesday morning. (Photo: Dan Hope)

Mike Singletary’s East squad took the field for their second Shrine Game practice Tuesday morning. (Photo: Dan Hope)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The pads came on Tuesday morning as the East team took the field for its second day of practices at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Fla., as more than 50 senior 2015 NFL draft hopefuls took the field once again with a chance to impress scouts and media in attendance.

It looks as though this week’s East practices, run by former NFL head coach and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, might not have as much value for evaluators as West practices, as Singletary and his coaching staff have insisted on running offense vs. offense/defense vs. defense for extended portions of practice, along with significant segments of special teams sessions.

Still, there were a number of players who stood out across a variety of positions Tuesday—many for good reasons, but a few because they look overmatched.

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2015 East-West Shrine Game Notes: Day 1

January 12th, 2015
St. Petersburg High School is the backdrop for this week's West team practices at the Shrine Game. (Photo: Dan Hope)

St. Petersburg High School is the backdrop for this week’s West team practices at the Shrine Game. (Photo: Dan Hope)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Monday was the first of four practice days at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., where more than 100 senior prospects for the 2015 NFL draft are competing in an effort to raise their stocks and prove to league scouts that they have the skills to be successful pros.

The first day is somewhat of a precursor to Tuesday’s and Wednesday, when the teams will be in full pads and the intensity will pick up. Wet conditions at both practices also put a damper on the evaluation process, as players had to compensate for weather. Nonetheless, every moment at the Shrine Game is an opportunity to impress, or potentially disappoint, someone watching.

There were a number of players who already took advantage of that opportunity as they started out Shrine Game week with strong performances in their opening practice—at least in my view.

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