Some have called 2016 the most important season yet for the Ryan brothers. Others have flat-out called for their jobs, both locally and nationally.
Starting off 0-2 and getting torched by a QB who’s thrown 10 interceptions in one month will do that. And while Rex and Rob Ryan remain polarizing figures much like their father Buddy, even the most bitter of rivals can see that they, along with Coordinator Dennis Thurman, have the Buffalo Bills defense playing at a very high level.
After week four’s 16-0 shutout victory over the New England Patriots at Foxborough, the first of its kind since 1993, Rex’s unit has the numbers to prove it too:
Team Defensive Statistics and NFL Rankings (4 Games)
Points/Game: 17 (6th)
Total Sacks: 13 (3rd)
Total Takeaways: 8 (5th)
Interceptions: 4 (9th)
TD Passes Allowed: 2 (4th)
Top ten in five different defensive categories ain’t too shabby and although numbers don’t tell the whole story, it’s a pretty solid start. Many people might point to the team finally “buying” into Rex’s complex scheme, or the arrival of versatile linebacker Zach Brown, or some new members of the defensive coaching staff as the main reason for the early success.
Along with the aforementioned, safety Aaron Williams being healthy and the lethal emergence of the Brown Bros in the middle (Preston and Zach) have played a huge role. It’s even more encouraging when you consider that Buffalo’s defense is missing this years top two draft picks in Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland as well as arguably its best player in Marcel Dareus. And despite it all, the team has really taken to a next man up mentality as guys like linebacker Lorenzo Alexander are stepping in and making an impact.
Here’s how the rest of the Bills defensive rankings stack up:
Total Yards/Game: 355 (17th)
Rushing Yards/Game: 96 (13th)
Passing Yards/Game: 260 (19th)
Completion Percentage: 61.8% (13th)
It’s not perfect as we witnessed on Thursday night a couple weeks ago, but the Bills defense is currently staging quite the comeback from last seasons performance. The timing couldn’t be better as Rex and Rob are not only coaching for their future but for the Ryan Family Legacy.