Rex Ryan began his Buffalo Bills coaching career by leading the team to an 8-8 record and playoff contention.
That apparently wasn’t enough for Ryan to secure a long-term future in Western New York.
According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, Ryan is one of the coaches heading into the 2016 regular season on the hot seat.
“It might surprise some that Ryan, who enters his second season of a five-year deal with the Bills, has not posted a winning record in five straight seasons: one with Buffalo, four with the New York Jets,” the insider noted. “And the Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, the longest playoff drought in the league.”
It goes without saying that Buffalo has grown impatient. The last time this organization played in a playoff game, Bill Clinton was still in the White House.
As for Ryan, his decision to join the Bills after coaching the division-rival New York Jets for six seasons was seen as surprising. He was one of the major free-agent coaches on the market following the 2014 season.
Despite going with a first-year quarterback and dealing with a multitude of injuries, Buffalo remained in playoff contention into December. That in and of itself was also seen as a surprise.
This didn’t stop the Bills’ brass from making it a point to note that Ryan would be retained for another season. That usually doesn’t happen to a coach that’s firmly in place as a long-term option.
Buffalo enters the 2016 campaign at a crossroads. On the surface, the team looks to be a legit playoff contender.
Tyrod Taylor just signed a long-term extension after exceeding expectations as a first-year starter last season. LeSean McCoy appears to be back healthy, and there’s no reason to believe Sammy Watkins can’t have a stellar season should he remain healthy.
Should the Bills not live up to expectations, it appears that Ryan’s tenure as the team’s head coach will be short lived. What those expectations might be is anyone’s guess.