After six tumultuous seasons with the New York Jets, Rex Ryan has been hired to be the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
The move is an interesting one for the Bills as Ryan is a defensive specialist and the team already has one of the best defenses in the NFL and struggles offensively. But at the same time, the move highlights what may be an archaic thought in the NFL: that teams need a traditional head coach at all.
On several occasions during his tenure with the Jets, Ryan made it clear that his role was to run the defence and the offence wasn’t really his concern. On one occasion, Ryan admitted he had no idea one of his wide receivers had been benched. On another occasion, Ryan admitted he had not watched the offence at all during a preseason game even though there was a quarterback battle.
There is little reason to feel that will be any different in Buffalo, where former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman will run the offence, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Which leads to the question, why is Ryan the boss over Roman if they have equal duties on the field?
At some point, a team is going to get smart and they will simply hire a “VP of football operations, offence” and a “VP of football operations, defence” to coach the respective sides of the ball and stay out of each other’s way.
That team can then hire a Bill Parcells or a Mike Holmgren-type as the president of football operations to make personnel decisions, handle the occasional decision that overlaps the offence and defence, and oversee the entire operations from afar with little involvement on the field.
We have already seen this implemented at the college level on a few occasions. Both Joe Paterno at Penn State and Bobby Bowden at Florida State served more as CEOs of their schools’ football programs and when it came to practice and game day, their appearances were more as figureheads.
The NFL has become so specialised that it is nearly impossible to ask one coach to be proficient on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Instead we have offensive coaches and defensive coaches, with one that gets paid more just because he speaks to the media more often.
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