Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. These are words that Terry Pegula and the Buffalo Bills should have paid heed to before announcing that ex-New York Jets supremo Rex Ryan is their new Head Coach because, hiring Rex Ryan is a mistake.
Great defense, no Quarterback
When Rex begins his new job he could be forgiven for experiencing a spot of deja vu. The Bills are in the same conference, the same division and even the same state. The Bills and the Jets have plenty in common beyond superficial resemblances.
Essentially, both teams are defense led and don't have a franchise quarterback. You could argue the biggest difference between the two is that one plays in green and the other blue.
Looking solely at the defense, hiring Rex does make a certain amount of sense. No one can realistically claim that Rex isn't one of the best defensive minds in the game today. Ryan's defenses are always interesting to watch and generally excellent.
Even this season when the New York Jets were forced to play wide receivers at cornerback the Jets defense was pretty good. They finished the regular season ranked five against the rush and six overall. The lack of cornerback play meant that the Jets' pass defense was ranked 14th but even that is not disastrous in the circumstances.
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Given his undoubted defensive scheming abilities and the raw talent available on the Bills defense their is little doubt then that the Bills defense is going to be something special in the 2015 season.
In truth with a defensive line of Williams, Williams, Dareus and Hughes and Linebackers like Spikes and Kiko Alonso it is easy to see them being the best defense in the league next season.
One side of the ball
Unfortunately for Ryan and the Bills though defense is just one side of the ball and it is the less important side at that. In order to win Championships in the NFL it is necessary to take a rookie QB and develop him into at least a Joe Flacco. Rex Ryan has shown that he is not the guy to do just this.
Rex's time at the Jets was ultimately stymied by his inability to create successful offenses or employ successful offensive coordinators. Mark Sanchez's Jets career was effectively over with the infamous butt fumble and Geno Smith's career never even got that far. Rex must bear a large degree of responsibility for this.
This wouldn't be a problem if Rex was moving to a team with a veteran QB but that isn't the situation he inherits in Buffalo. Kyle Orton has retired from football leaving behind E.J. Manuel the second year QB who the NFL essentially gave up on six months ago.
If the Bills are going to be successful over the next decade they urgently need to find a QB who at the very least can get the best out of first round pick Sammy Watkins. Rex Ryan isn't the guy to do this. His time at the Jets under similar circumstances shows just this.
The Bills should have learned from the past and steered clear of Rex Ryan. As it is hiring him is a monumental mistake.