Rex Ryan is about to become the new head coach of the Buffalo Bills, according to multiple reports.
The move comes as a surprise from multiple angles. First, Ryan will remain in the AFC East, where his defenses have bedeviled the New England Patriots. He'll also get to face his former team, the New York Jets, twice a year.
Ryan theoretically walks into a bit of an upgrade from New York in that he'll a far better defense and offensive stars like WR Sammy Watkins who were nowhere to be found in New York. He's also entering a small-market team where he'll become an instant media darling.
What Ryan doesn't have, yet, is a quality quarterback, with Kyle Orton retired and EJ Manuel benched. But there are options out there if he's wiling to pursue them, including Chicago's Jay Cutler and potentially Cleveland's Brian Hoyer. Could Rex succeed where others have failed? If he's able to turn either of those two quarterbacks into a sustained NFL success, they could start carving his bust for Canton.
The Falcons and 49ers had been pushing hard for Ryan, with the Falcons believed to be the front-runners. But Ryan interviewed with Atlanta last week and left without a deal, and that may have been a sign:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2015
As recently as Saturday night, the AP reported that the Bills wanted to have second interviews with other candidates before making the hire, but apparently the team decided to take the leap early.
The Bills finished last year 9-7, but still missed the playoffs. Their 15-year streak without a postseason berth remains the NFL's longest.
And keep up with Jay over on Facebook, too.