Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula are troubled by the poor start to the season but not mulling other in-season changes, according to sources close to them.
They are loyal — some would say to a fault — and have not considered firing embattled coach Rex Ryan or GM Doug Whaley, and it would take a fairly epic collapse to initiate more firings in-season. Sweeping changes in the offseason are quite possible, however, barring improvement. Ryan has already mentioned to others the issue of his long-term job security, with the bizarre firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman just two games into the season, off a 31-point performance, the latest indication of the trouble long-brewing in Buffalo.
There has been discord between the coaching and personnel departments dating back to last season, with Roman in particular long drawing the ire of Whaley, sources said. Whaley has politicked to the owners that he has acquired sufficient young talent on offense — receiver Sammy Watkins in particular — and repeatedly questioned the inability of the staff to utilize him and quarterback Tyrod Taylor more effectively. Whaley clashed with former coach Doug Marrone and that offensive staff over the usage and deployment of Watkins as well, sources said.
With the Bills again marred by injuries and suspensions, many quadrants of the organization have already gone into “survival mode,” as one team source put it, trying to build the case with ownership as to why they aren’t part of the problem.
After moving up and giving up a bounty to draft Watkins, and having made several unusual decisions at quarterback, Whaley’s fate is very much tied to seeing those skill players prosper. Even with the Bills leading the NFL in rushing in 2015, there were rifts between the coaches and front office, with the passing game not what the GM wanted it to be, sources said. However, Watkins is oft injured, the discomfort in his foot relating to the surgically inserted screws is not subsiding, and he continues to have to play through considerable pain. There is no procedure available to alleviate the problem, sources said.
Ryan’s bid to keep his job beyond 2016 was pinned primarily to his vow to add bite and direction to a poor defense, but that unit, now led by Ryan’s brother, Rob, has managed to look worse already than it did last season.
The behind-the-scenes tumult and turmoil is not lost on the players, sources said, with the locker room well aware of the potential for sweeping changes this offseason. A group already short on leaders has spiraled further to start the season.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Bills ownership not considering other staff changes after Greg Roman firing