So what does the newest head coach of the Buffalo Bills do the night before his introductory news conference in his new city?
Why, knock down a few cold ones with Jim Kelly, the Bills Hall of Fame quarterback, at a local bar right down the street from Ralph Wilson Stadium of course.
He followed it up the next afternoon with one of the most entertaining opening press conference in quite some time in Buffalo, NY sports and it is official that the Pegula era is underway for the Bills.
More importantly, the Bills found their man to be the face of the franchise and someone who is looking to lead them out of their 15-year playoff drought.
Ryan started off the press conference with his usual confidence, tapping the microphone and asking “It this thing on? Because it’s getting ready to be on.”
He spoke at length about his plans for his new team, along with making sure that the fans in Buffalo know how much he wants to be here.
He also discussed how he wasn’t going to come in here and get pushed around by other teams in the division.
“We are going to build a bully and we’re gonna see if you want to play it for 60 minutes,” Ryan said to the crowd, repeating the phrase of building a bully throughout the hour long conference.
“We want the Buffalo Bills to be a nightmare to play against,” Bills owner Terry Pegula stated in his opening remarks, which is a statement the newest head coach of the Bills is going to get behind.
“You guys know how I feel,” Ryan said. “We’re not afraid of anybody. We respect [the New England Patriots] and they won the division. Doesn’t mean they will next year.”
“I’m not going to let our fans down,” he said. “I’m not going to do that. I know it’s been 15 years [since Buffalo reached the playoffs last]. Well, get ready. We’re going.”
The other big thing to take away from the conference is that the power structure of the Bills is not going to be changing too much.
GM Doug Whaley will be in charge of the player personal department while Ryan will be in control of weekly game-plans and starting line-ups.
President Russ Brandon will remain in control overseeing the business operations of the team.
Everyone will report directly to team owners, Terry and Kim Pegula.
The last big takeaway (and the biggest concern for the Bills heading into next season) was the team’s plan for the quarterback position.
With EJ Manuel the only active player on the roster at quarterback (Jeff Tuel is on the team’s practice squad), Ryan was asked what he thought of the still developing signal caller from Florida State.
So is EJ the guy that is going to be leading this team when the season rolls around again?
“We’ll see,” Ryan said. “He has a lot of traits you look for in a quarterback.”
Ryan also noted that he will be given an opportunity here to show that he can be that franchise quarterback that the team is looking for. He wasn’t married to EJ though, and also expressed that the team is still very much in the evaluation process and that there really wasn’t a plan for the position yet.
Ryan made sure to note that as a team, “We’ll look at every option at quarterback.”
GM Doug Whaley chimed in about loving “competition” at the position (along with all position in general), because it rises everyone’s level of play and there isn’t that big of a drop off if someone is lost to injury.
Don’t be surprised to see a couple veteran quarterbacks getting a look from Buffalo in the next couple months. This is a team that is built to win now and I doubt they are going to trout EJ out there if they don’t believe he can give them the best chance to win games.
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