NFL

NFL AM: Rex Ryan Given 2016 Playoff Ultimatum

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Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley given 2016 Playoff ultimatum from Bills:

Despite all of the evidence that giving a head coach time to build a program is the best way to build continuity and to win in the NFL, teams and fans seem to be getting more and more impatient with the process.

In recent years we’ve seen head coaches blown out after just two seasons, and this year we watched Jim Tomsula get shown the door after just a single season as San Francisco 49ers head coach, even though you could argue he did a pretty good job squeezing five victories out of that team after losing as many players as the Niners lost over the offseason.

Now, Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci is reporting that the Buffalo Bills have joined the impatient party by giving head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley an ultimatum for 2016. According to sources familiar with knowledge of the meeting, new Bills’ owner Terry Pegula told Ryan and Whaley they needed to make the playoffs in 2016, or they’d be out.

Pegula, who also owns the Buffalo Sabres is a hero to many in Buffalo for buying the Bills and ensuring the team wouldn’t move out of the city as many feared they would, when names like Jon Bon Jovi were rumored to be looking into buying the team and relocating it.  The affection could wear out quickly if he continues the trend of bad football that has been the only thing consistent about this team since the 1990’s.

No team has missed the playoffs for more consecutive seasons than Buffalo, and it seems Pegula will not be patient waiting for that trend to change.

Many Bills’ fans thought this might be the season the playoff drought ended after the team opened up the season with a surprising and dominant victory over the Indianapolis Colts, but we quickly learned that was a bigger sign of things to come for the Colts than it was for Buffalo, whose was mired in inconsistency and littered with disappointing losses before finally finishing 8-8.

While ruining the Jets season may have left Ryan feeling pretty good at season’s end, an ultimatum to get the Bills to the playoffs, “or else” made it clear it’s time to get to work on 2016, or the former Jets coach could be looking for work again in 2017.

Teams begin interviewing potential coaching candidates:

On average there are six head coach openings in the NFL year in and year out, and this year is no different as six NFL clubs are looking for a new direction heading into the 2016 NFL season.

There are teams that seem to be here every couple of years like the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, and teams that have typically seen a little more stability like the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants, who will make a change after Tom Coughlin spent 12 years in the position, bringing two Super Bowl trophies to New York.

Watching Coughlin’s press conference to announce his stepping down, you couldn’t help but think, good luck doing better than this guy, Giants.

In attempt to do better, the Giants will start by looking inside the organization before outside of it. New York interviewed offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo for the position, and will interview defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

While it’s unclear how either Coughlin assistant would inspire more confidence than the man they just worked for, hiring a head coach from outside the organization who would change the offense could be detrimental to Eli Manning, who has enjoyed two of his best statistical seasons under McAdoo.

The stability and history in New York has to make the Giants gig one of the more appealing opportunities for aspiring head coaches, and having a franchise quarterback in place is something new coaches are rarely blessed with. The question is how effective Manning can be if the system he’s been so successful in these past two seasons is replaced by a new head coach.

While the Cleveland Browns may have the least appealing opening, the team isn’t wasting any time lining up candidates, as they’ve already scheduled interviews with Sean McDermott, Teryl Austin, Adam Gase, Doug Marrone and Paul Guenther.

The team is also reportedly interested in Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, whose work with Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati offense has him among the hottest candidates in the league.

The Miami Dolphins haven’t wasted any time getting their coaching search under way, as they already sat down with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, former Super Bowl champion Mike Shanahan, and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

While Austin is one of the lesser known names among candidates, he’s done an underrated job with the Lions’ defense, and he is one of the more intriguing names despite often being overlooked in these discussions. If he doesn’t get his opportunity this year, it should come very soon.

Another team with Austin on the radar is the Philadelphia Eagles, who are looking for a change in direction after Chip Kelly imploded this year after pushing his weight around and forcing his way into complete control before the season.

The Eagles have already interviewed Adam Gase, and will interview Austin and former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone next. As un-sexy as Marrone may be to Philadelphia fans, he may just be the anti-Kelly that Jeffrey Lurie is looking for.

Redskins add Cary Williams for playoffs:

The Washington Redskins have injury issues in the secondary, and has already had to rule out standout rookie Kyshoen Jarrett for the team’s wild card game against Green Bay Sunday afternoon.

In attempt to add depth to a secondary that desperately needs it, the team has signed veteran corner Cary Williams. While the veteran was cut by the Seattle Seahawks last month, he’s actually a solid pick up for Washington right now.

Williams isn’t a great cornerback, and isn’t going to change the Washington secondary overnight, but he’s a veteran voice, and the kind of glue guy that teams need in the playoffs. The Baltimore Ravens never win the Super Bowl without Williams in 2012, who was key to a secondary that saw key members go down that season.

We’re not suggesting Williams will propel Washington to a Super Bowl victory. Hell, we’re not confident he’ll propel them to a victory over the Green Bay on Sunday, but for a team desperate for help in the secondary entering the wild card round of the playoffs, you could do a lot worse than a veteran who has helped lift the play of others in critical moments before.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.