As of Week 15, there have been two head coaches in the NFL who were relieved of their duties; Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams and Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There could possibly be a third coming soon, as reports have said that the Buffalo Bills are preparing to part ways with head coach Rex Ryan at the end of the season no matter what their record is at seasons’ end.
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Ryan, who is coaching in just his second season, has done better of late, as Ryan’s demise in Buffalo was being reported earlier in the season, but has Buffalo at .500 heading into Week 16 at 7-7 and there’s a possibility that the Bills could end the season with a winning record.
Buffalo went 8-8 in Ryan’s first season but he got morale victories by knocking off the New York Jets in both meetings, one of which was the season finale in Week 17 in a game that eliminated the Jets from the postseason. Ryan spent six seasons as the Jets head coach before he was fired after the 2014 season, so Ryan was able to exact some revenge to his former employers by eliminating them from a possible playoff spot less than a year after they fired him as the head coach.
It’s very rare to see an organization dismiss a head coach after just two seasons unless that team has such a low winning percentage and has shown no improvement in their play; Buffalo has at least been a .500 team and Ryan has ultimately done nothing to deserve being fired.
But with owner Terry Pegula reportedly meeting with players earlier in the season behind Ryan’s back, it stirred up things and made people wonder if Ryan was the guy that Buffalo wanted; an owner meeting with players behind Ryan’s back is never a good sign of things and shows instability and organizational chaos.
Ryan tends to be a players coach and one they like playing for; he was well liked when he was the Jets head coach and the Buffalo players, and firing a well-liked coach may not go over well with players, especially those who have come to Buffalo to play for Ryan.
Letting go of a coach with Ryan’s track record would be a complete disservice to not only Ryan and the players, but for the fan base and for the entire organization because it will set the wrong expectation and perception around the league.
By firing Ryan after two seasons, it will show turmoil and chaos in Buffalo. It’s one thing if Ryan went 1-15 or 2-14 after the 8-8 season; that kind of season can and likely will get a head coach fired, as it has in the past with head coaches. But Ryan hasn’t been that bad of a head coach and the Bills haven’t played to that point, yet, the Bills are preparing to move on from him as if he were.
It’s not the right move to make in Buffalo and it will only set back the organization even further than it already was. It didn’t help when Doug Marrone resigned as the head coach after two seasons. But letting Ryan go after two seasons would be an even worse move to make for the franchise.
Head coaches like Rich Kotite and Ray Handley get fired after two seasons, and their dismissals were justified.
Ryan, who a couple of years ago, was one game away from the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons, being let go in Buffalo wouldn’t be justified and it would be a huge mistake and will set back the team even further than it already has.