ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – It’s been two and a half weeks since Rex Ryan’s job was first called into question by multiple media outlets, and outside of one scripted Doug Whaley interview on WGR 550 last Friday and a fluffed up media release from the Pegula’s after Ryan’s firing was announced, the offices at One Bills Dr. have remained peculiarly quiet. That silence is deafening.
For those two weeks the Bills brass threw Ryan to the wolves as he fended off questions of his job security all by his lonesome. It was target practice for the local media and while Ryan got lambasted day-after-day about whether or not he knew his job was in jeopardy, whether or not he had talked to the Pegulas about it and what each disappointing loss meant for his future, not a soul within the Bills higher ups came to his defense. By saying nothing, they were saying everything. Ryan was as good as gone.
Lo and behold on Tuesday morning it was made official; Ryan was fired in what the Pegulas called “a mutual agreement.” Ownership’s first commentary on the matter in nearly three weeks and they call it a mutual decision. No matter if you view Rex Ryan’s firing as the right decision or wrong decision, the disrespect that the organization showed him is undeniably embarrassing. He deserved better. But what else did you expect from a franchise that lacks accountability?
That inherent flaw was on full display again on Wednesday, when the Bills trotted Anthony Lynn to the podium as the sacrificial lamb for his first press conference as interim head coach, same way they did Rex. Naturally one of the first questions asked of Lynn was who his starting quarterback would be in Week 17; “Cardale Jones right now. I mean I’m sorry, not Cardale—EJ Manuel. I just wanted to throw you off,” he stumbled, getting out some first presser jitters. Of course then came the question of who’s decision it was, Lynn’s answer; “It was our decision,” implying that he, the Pegulas and general manager Doug Whaley made the decision collectively. Fair enough.
But later he’d contradict those remarks when he was asked whether or not benching Tyrod Taylor had anything to do with his contract ramifications. “I don’t know about that. I wasn’t in that meeting when that decision was made, so I don’t know,” Lynn explained. Then came the most telling response of all, when Lynn was asked to clarify how the decision was made; “I can’t speak for the owner, I can’t speak for the [general manager]. They have to speak for themselves.”
He’s right. He can’t speak for the Pegulas. And he can’t speak for Whaley. So why is he? Because this organization lacks the fortitude.
Why hasn’t either party spoken to the media at all since Ryan’s dismissal Tuesday morning? The Pegulas have always tried to remain out of sight and out of mind as owners, which is fine, when you have a general manager that will take on the burden of explaining tough organizational decisions. However, Whaley is the Houdini of media dodging, in fact as the media made their way to the field house for practice on Wednesday the GM swiftly exited through the team’s weight room. Outside of his contractual obligation to speak weekly on WGR – interviews that he has to rehearse beforehand – the man continues to perform the world’s longest disappearing act.
By some miracle Whaley will speak next Monday at the Bills season wrap up press conference, and you can expect he’ll spend most of the session getting roasted about the handling of this entire situation. What goes around comes around.
It still won’t make up for the fact that someone, anyone could have denied Ryan’s inevitable dismissal, even if it was a bold faced lie – most organizations would.
Similarly, someone other than the team’s new head coach should have been standing at the podium on Wednesday answering why the head coach was fired short of two season’s at the helm, and if Taylor’s benching has anything to do with owing him $30.75 million if he were to be seriously injured in Sunday’s season finale against the Jets.
Obviously that’s the assumption anyway, but all the organization had to do was admit that from the start. The incompetence is real at One Bills Dr. Or maybe you’d prefer to use ESPN Jim Trotter’s term for it “a dumpster fire.”
Jim Trotter absolutely destroys the Buffalo Bills pic.twitter.com/6HZxu8OMkK
— Patrick Moran (@PatMoranTweets) December 28, 2016
The Bills list of head coaching candidates reportedly includes Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, veteran Tom Coughlin and current interim Lynn. Every single one of them should run for the hills.
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