With how the 2015 season unraveled for the Buffalo Bills, one of the biggest reasons the Bills missed the playoffs for the 16th straight year was due to the defense.
The Bills went from the fourth-best unit in the entire National Football League and brought down the quarterback a whopping 54 times in 2014. This past year, the Bills only managed to bring the quarterback down 21 times -- their worst total in franchise history -- and were ranked 19th in the NFL in total defense.
Making matters worse, head coach Rex Ryan's defensive scheme was called out and criticized publicly by some of his players --- most notably defensive end Mario Williams.
In 2016, the Bills will be facing quite a bit of pressure to rapidly improve on that side of the ball, and to help put an end to the playoff drought before it extends to a 17th year. Appearing on 'Mike and Mike' on ESPN Radio, the head coach promised changes.
"We’re going to do things much differently next year, and we’re going to be better because of it," Ryan said. "In a way, I tried to merge a couple of things, you know, two systems and things like that. And quite honestly, it didn’t work, so we’re going to be all in, we’re going to play Buffalo Bill defense, and we’re not going to be fun to play."
With that quote, it's a clear indication that Ryan and the Bills are intent on formulating the defensive scheme around what made all his defenses with the Ravens and Jets so successful, which will likely mean that they'll need some players that are more conducive to his defensive persona. Ryan, traditionally, employed a 3-4 defense in his years in Baltimore and New York.
"It was unusual for us. We really thought we’d bring it together," the head coach said. "We just didn’t get it done. It seems strange because obviously, you’re right, the year before Buffalo’s defense was really outstanding — I think ranked fourth in the league and things. I think, as we know, my history has been a top 10 defense my entire career."
To help the defense get back to a more Ryan-like scheme, he brought in another Ryan. The Bills officially announced the addition of Rob Ryan, Rex's twin brother, to the coaching staff with the title of 'assistant head coach/defense.'
Rob is familiar with Rex's scheme, and after serving as New Orleans' defensive coordinator for part of 2015, he'll be a part of the process in Buffalo in 2016.
"That’s a huge thing. We got better yesterday because we were able to get my brother," Rex said. "One thing I know about him is he probably the most, you know… football is such a passion for him. Nobody works harder than my brother. He’s prepared as well as any coach in the league, and he’s an outstanding coach."
Besides Rob Ryan, the Bills have yet to make any additional announcements regarding additions or subtractions with their coaching staff.
Stay in Touch Anywhere, Anytime with News, Weather and Video -- Download the WKBW app:
Or Sign Up for Our Newsletters -- Delivered to Your E-mail: