Joe B: 5 takeaways from Bills' Rex Ryan (12/28)

Joe B: 5 takeaways from Bills' Rex Ryan (12/28)
Posted at 5:28 PM, Dec 28, 2015

In one week, the 2015 regular season will be over for the Buffalo Bills. Following the 16-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys, the Bills brought themselves one step closer to ending the season with a .500 record.

After he took some time to review the tape, Bills head coach Rex Ryan addressed the media and discussed some of the issues surrounding his team.

Five takeaways from the press conference:

1) Rex: Tyrod needs to protect himself more
- While Tyrod Taylor didn’t offer a lot more than a couple of flashy throws in the passing game on Sunday, he certainly did everything in his power to assure a Bills victory with his ability on the ground. Taylor extended plays on a routine basis against the Cowboys whenever there was a breakdown in coverage, and gained 67 yards on the ground on a total of 14 attempts. The trouble for Taylor, though, was not his ability to extend plays, but rather his proclivity of extending the play too much and inevitably putting his body on the line to take a big hit. On one occasion, the quarterback was slow to get up off the ground at the end of the possession, but returned to the game despite getting a bit banged up. Taylor joked after the game that his center, Eric Wood, tells him every day to learn how to get down and slide, rather than taking unnecessary hits. His head coach echoed the same thing on Monday:

“We want him to be the long term solution at the spot, so he has got to learn to protect himself and understand that we need him to be that.”

Just the same as learning how to see the whole field when he’s in the pocket, Taylor must progress and learn the delicate balance of when to take advantage and gain the extra yard, and when it’s better for him to pull up and slide.

2) Bills continue vague talk about Cyrus Kouandjio
- With the season having an official expiration date, the Bills have been getting their younger players a little more involved, but their outright refusal to get one notable draft pick involved with the starting offensive line raises a lot of questions. Former second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio, in almost two full seasons, has one start to his name. He has only two appearances that have offered meaningful snaps at one of the five starting positions along the offensive line. It was defendable when Seantrel Henderson was available to the team due to his long term potential for the Bills, but, he’s been absent for a month now due to an illness. Instead of Kouandjio getting the time on the field, the Bills have been starting Jordan Mills — who has been among the worst starters on the team since taking over the right tackle position. Kouandjio had a solid start against Jacksonville, which makes his lack of playing time with the starting five all the more concerning. The Bills have gotten Kouandjio on the field as a sixth blocker, playing tight end on offense occasionally. But, if they’re going to find out about him, he needs to be playing all the snaps. Rex Ryan was asked why Kouandjio couldn’t get on the field at right tackle:

“Well that’s is a good question. I think there is a little more comfort level with [Jordan] Mills it seems like.”

Comfort level, at this time of the year when there isn’t much else to play for, doesn’t make up for being outplayed and continuing to start a player that has failed to deserve it.

3) Dareus, Darby have a chance to play
- Against Dallas, the Bills were without Ronald Darby due to a groin injury, as well as Marcell Dareus for the majority of the game due to a neck injury. At the very least, Rex Ryan remains hopeful that both will be able to play in the regular season finale. Darby’s absence will be especially missed against a Jets team that have been moving the ball consistently through the air in 2015, and they feature two very good starting options at wide receiver in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Dareus is pushing to play as well, but he lost feeling in his hand, and the Bills would be wise not to push such a valuable piece to their future into the game in what will end up being a meaningless game to the Bills in the grand scheme of things.

4) Clay done for the year
- While the Bills remain hopeful for both Darby and Dareus, the same cannot be said for Charles Clay. Rex Ryan officially ruled Clay out on Monday, ending his season after just 13 games. Without Clay, the Bills will feature Chris Gragg and Nick O’Leary as their main tight ends. Gragg received the majority of the snaps against Dallas, the second straight week that’s happened, while O’Leary’s snap count was left in the teens for the second week in a row. O’Leary slipped on what looked to be a good look at a scoring play, which shouldn’t limit how much he plays on Sunday against the Jets. The Bills will also likely to continue to use Kouandjio as a blocking tight end.

5) Easley’s horrific injury
- The last we saw wide receiver Marcus Easley, he was quite emotional with his head in a towel as he was being carted off the field. With the news of his injury, it isn’t hard to imagine why he was so emotional. Easley, according to the Bills, dislocated his knee, and in addition to that, he broke his knee in three different places. The Bills seem to think Easley will be back next season, but it’s hard not to feel badly for the wideout who has been plagued by illness and injury since entering the league. The Bills are going to officially put him on Injured Reserve, and according to ESPN, have claimed wide receiver Leonard Hankerson off of waivers to fill the spot.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia





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