Ryan will go to bat for his players…then they must produce
I admire Rex Ryan’s coaching style. He stands out from the crowd, which sets him apart.
His approach fosters an atmosphere of freedom and ease, liberating his players from the weight of fear-driven tactics and empty threats often employed by other coaches.
In addition to cultivating a player-centric environment, Rex’s affinity for engaging with the media is well-known.
He can transform a press conference into a night at the comedy club.
He’s a quote machine, consistently capturing interest and attention. However, it’s worth noting that he doesn’t solely use the media for entertainment.
It plays a significant role in how he motivates his players.
The most recent one-liner that grabbed my attention revolved around the young, underestimated, and still-developing quarterback, E.J. Manuel.
We’re all familiar with his background. Manuel, selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills from Florida State, was part of a draft class that didn’t boast many standout college quarterbacks.
Although Manuel’s inaugural year had its share of ups and downs, glimpses of potential shone through.
Unfortunately, his rookie season was marred by an LCL sprain in his right knee, sidelining him for five games.
Following a few lackluster offensive performances in early 2014, then-head coach Doug Marrone opted for the seasoned veteran Kyle Orton.
Orton’s presence injected an unexpected vitality into Buffalo and his career, offering stability as the Bills fought to nine victories.
I do appreciate Rex trying to build up his young quarterback. That’s what makes Rex so fun to play for. He builds you up instead of tearing you down.
Marrone departed in the offseason, Orton hung up his boots, and Rex Ryan, recently let go by the Jets, swiftly joined the Bills.
On the surface, this seemed like an ideal fresh start for Manuel. Just days ago, as Buffalo’s offseason workouts kicked off, E.J. noted: “I just think God works in mysterious ways. I’m excited with the coaches we have now.”
This brings us to Rex, the “Quote-osaurus Rex.” When discussing Manuel’s position within the team, Rex asserted, “Let’s not just throw him out after two years. Aaron Rodgers never took a snap for three years. So let’s see where (Manuel) is going to be.”
Hold your horses.
I find this quote amusing for two reasons. Firstly, Rex’s statement about Rodgers not taking a snap for three years is a bit of an exaggeration.
He took enough snaps to convince the Packers’ front office to move on from the legendary Brett Favre.
The most pivotal of those snaps came during Rodgers’ third season in 2007, in a Week 13 showdown against the undefeated NFC’s No. 1 seed, the Dallas Cowboys.
Midway through the second quarter, Favre exited the game with a funny bone injury, and Rodgers’ number was called.
With the Packers trailing 27-10, Rodgers’ precise throws and ability to extend plays led to two scoring drives, bringing Green Bay within striking distance at 27-24.
After that game, I found myself at a gathering with several members of the Packers’ front office.
One individual, now a general manager for a different NFL franchise, confided in me. He shared, “We’re no longer caught up in Favre’s ‘will he retire or stay’ routine.
He further added, “We have our replacement with Aaron. We saw that in this last game against the Cowboys.”
Green Bay had gathered enough evidence to transition from one of the greatest quarterbacks in history to Rodgers.
My apologies, Rex… there were undoubtedly snaps.
However, it’s crucial to note that comparing Manuel’s situation to Rodgers’ is a bit of a stretch.
Rodgers had the privilege of learning from one of the greatest quarterbacks in history.
Regrettably, for Manuel, his most influential mentor was Kyle Orton, and that was just this past season.
Orton is a solid quarterback, but not in the same league as the elite ones.
Furthermore, Manuel once held the starting position but eventually forfeited it.
This doesn’t imply there isn’t still potential in E.J.; it simply highlights the peculiarity of the comparison.
I must say, I appreciate Rex’s efforts to bolster his young quarterback.
This is one of the reasons why playing for Rex is such a delight. He’s all about lifting you rather than tearing you down.
While I never had the chance to play under Rex, I did spend my final year in the NFL (2012) under his identical twin brother, Rob.
Those who’ve been under the mentorship of or gotten to know both Rob and Rex will attest not only to their physical resemblance as twins but also to the striking similarity in their coaching philosophies and personalities.
Having been coached by Rob, I have a grasp of what Rex is aiming for here.
As a Buffalo Bill player, it’s hard to envision not appreciating a coach who goes to bat for you, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong. The Ryans are consistently willing to do just that.
From a football standpoint, there are compelling reasons to anticipate a bounce-back year for EJ Manuel.
With the return of the dynamic young wide receiver Sammy Watkins, along with the additions of running back LeSean McCoy, tight end Charles Clay, and wide receiver Percy Harvin, the Bills should boast overall offensive explosiveness that was lacking the last time Manuel took the field for them.
This should alleviate the pressure on Manuel to single-handedly “carry” the offense.
In the grand scheme of things, Rex is simply being Rex.
Manuel now has a chance to leverage the support and cover his coach provides as he endeavors to revitalize his career. That’s all a player can hope for.