Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Sep 2016

Bills Fire OC Greg Roman

This is some varsity-level scapegoating here. Greg Roman took a backup quarterback nobody wanted and turned that into a top-10 offense by DVOA even though LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins couldn't always stay healthy. Meanwhile, the Bills defense collapsed last season. And yet, after a 37-31 loss, who gets fired? That's right, goodbye Greg Roman, being replaced by RB coach Anthony Lynn.

The Bills have been a disaster this year. You can't blame them for the injuries to the rookie defenders, but you can blame them (and Marcel Dareus) for the circus-like atmosphere. This team has a horribly difficult schedule through the first half of the season and they are really close to going the Full Kotite.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Sep 2016

34 comments, Last at 21 Sep 2016, 5:36pm by jtr


by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 1:48pm

Listen, nepotism had nothing to do with which coordinator got canned. Giving up only 37 points is a big step forward for a Rob Ryan defense.

This is one of the more ridiculous firings I can think of the recent NFL.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 2:58pm

well, r ryan nto defneisve coordinator. pretth sure it is d Thurman. r ryan hried to hang out with head coach and drink beer nd stuff and help game mamagement or something. not exactly sure.

by galactic_dev :: Sat, 09/17/2016 - 8:12am

Totally! The defense was to blame for that defeat. The offense has the tools to develop well.

They hit the Panic Button and it said, "A sacrifice must be made."

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 1:51pm

It seems like a massive overreaction after two games, regardless of how the offense played! It's a really bizarre move that seems more for PR purposes than football purposes, and that's very rarely a good thing.

by theslothook :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 1:57pm

Rip to RR and RR. Call me baffled but I had such a high opinion of RR's coaching ability.

by billprudden :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 2:07pm

Come January, or whenever SF releases Kap, some owner / GM would have to look very closely at the prospect of giving Roman and Kap a reunion tour.

Esp if it could be had for very low upfront costs...

by Lebo :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 3:18pm

As someone who's been stashing Kaep on his dynasty roster since he got benched, I'm hoping that Kaep ends up in Arizona. I can only imagine that Bruce Arians would do amazing things with him and those wide receivers.

by Tim R :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 2:39pm

Can the rams hire him before sunday?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 2:42pm

So which comes next, friends or countrymen?

by Mike B. In Va :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 4:56pm

Well played.

For a serious answer, it's Cesar. Unless something major changes, Rex won't last the season.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 2:56pm

you never go full Kotite.

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 4:11pm

I'm putting that on the wall of my office.

by TomC :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 3:32pm

My guess is Rex is feeling vulnerable and saw Roman as a threat (Roman did interview for the HC job before they gave it to Rex).

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 4:13pm

The "You can't fire me because there's nobody on my staff capable of being an interim coach" strategy.

by TomC :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:20pm


by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 8:46pm

Didn't work for Philbin. They gave the TE coach his job, anyway.

by DEW :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 3:54pm

The offense isn't totally blameless, true, with three-and-outs everywhere, gadget plays seemingly for the sake of gadget plays (which...honestly, smacks more of the head coach than the coordinator), and success seemingly coming only on lucky big plays, and that's after getting completely shut down in Baltimore in Week 1.

That said, Rob Ryan was awful in Dallas, awful in New Orleans, and Ryan Fitzpatrick just made his defense look yet again awful, marching up and down the field seven separate times and getting stopped only by a fumble and an egregiously dropped pass.

Hiring Rex was not something I'd do as an owner/GM, but it was a defensible choice. Hiring Rob was foolish. And with this firing it seems very likely that it's all or nothing in terms of keeping the Ryan brothers. Rex's competence-to-circus clock seems to be getting shorter by the year.

by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 4:53pm

Aside from the possibility that Baltimore has a really good defense this year, a lot of the Bills offense is predicated on big plays, because that's what Tyrod Taylor and company do. This firing was completely indefensible.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 09/17/2016 - 1:38am

Will add that I was never convinced by RR in Oakland and believed ineptness was masked by the B&B offense.

In back-to-back games against the 49ers and Browns, the offense actually managed to eek out 20-point leads. Yet RR's defense still found a way to lose the games.

by jtr :: Sat, 09/17/2016 - 11:02am

>gadget plays seemingly for the sake of gadget plays (which...honestly, smacks more of the head coach than the coordinator)

Totally agree. Stupid gadget plays have been a hallmark of Rex Ryan teams throughout his career. I recall that in Collision Low Crossers (written by a journalist who was embedded in the 2011 Jets HQ), we see that Rex liked to sit in on offensive meetings so the team didn't feel like he totally ignored offense at the expense of his beloved defense. Based on the fact that the gadget plays have stuck around while many OC's have come and gone, it seems that Rex's contributions to offensive meetings consist mostly of dumb plays that put two QB's on the field at the same time.

by JimZipCode :: Wed, 09/21/2016 - 4:51pm

...in Collision Low Crossers (written by a journalist who was embedded in the 2011 Jets HQ)...

That was an awesome book. I heartily recommend that to any sports fan.

Side effect of the book: your opinion of Mike Pettine will likely rise, while reading it.

by jtr :: Wed, 09/21/2016 - 5:36pm

The thing about Collision Low Crossers is that I love the content but hate the writing. It's very cool to get an inside look at an NFL team, and anything with this much Rex Ryan is bound to be fun. But the author writes like his only goal is to impress his friends at the New Yorker, and he seems to treat every page as an opportunity to beat his own record for the purplest prose ever written about pro football. Still, I'd probably recommend it for anyone on this site, and it's certainly required reading for Jets fans.

by johonny :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 4:19pm

I guess the good news is he's available on the market sooner than the rest of the Bills staff because I'm pretty sure this is the last season of this circus.

by IrishBarrister :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 4:22pm

Greg Roman was the freakin' MacGyver of run offense. Dude would repeatedly built a respectable ground attack out of nothing. So I'll be really surprised if he doesn't have a job in a week (unless he wants to take the year off).

by Ben :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 5:04pm

Run offense out of nothing... Sounds like just what the Colts need.

by Dave Bernreuther :: Mon, 09/19/2016 - 1:43pm

They did their own varsity scapegoating last year with Manusky.

You could probably field a pretty good expansion team with Roman and Manusky making chicken salad out of chicken shit as the coordinators, actually...

by The Ancient Mariner :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:15pm

Were I the owner, I'd get up tomorrow, fire the Ryans, and call Roman to offer him the HC job. Just like TB with Winston, you need to keep the guy who's developing your QB.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 8:10pm

There are rumors that the Pegulas were the ones who wanted Roman fired. Just what a struggling franchise needs...a meddling owner.

by drillz :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:35pm

perfect opportunity for Jerral Jones to fire Scott Linehan and put some creativity to Dallas' bland offense, a.s.a.p!

by mbmxyz :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:55pm

Shades of NE Pats HC Ron Meyer firing DC Rod Rust mid-season 1984, followed a day or so later by Meyer himself being fired, Pats hiring Ray Berry as HC (He was out of football and working in Medfield, MA at the time.) and re-hiring Rust as DC. It worked out. The Pats were the designated crushee for the Bears in the 1985 Super Bowl. That was the high-point for the pre-Kraft Pats.

by andrew :: Fri, 09/16/2016 - 8:45pm

The bills defense was pretty good before Ryan got there.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 09/17/2016 - 5:54am

Have to say that as games go it was one of the more enjoyable of recent times. When I first watched football in the 80s, the deep pass was part of the attraction to it. The rise of the WCO and bubble screens and short stuff underneath has made "the bomb" a rarity these days. So to see two teams really going at it like that was a treat ... especially on a Thursday night game

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 09/17/2016 - 7:41am


also reminded of afl games

by PatsFan :: Sun, 09/18/2016 - 11:58pm