Bills owner backs decision to fire Roman
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula dismissed any doubts Monday regarding Rex Ryan’s authority over the team and the coach’s decision to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
“We do things together like any well run org would,” Pegula wrote in a text message to The Associated Press. “Head coach runs the team and staff.”
Pegula’s comments were in response to questions raised over Ryan’s authority, and who made the decision to fire Roman on Friday .
Citing unnamed sources, NFL Network reported Sunday that Pegula and his wife, Kim, held private meetings with key Bills players without Ryan being present before determining to fire Roman. The report then questioned whether it was Ryan’s decision to make the change.
On Monday, Ryan reiterated the decision was his, adding he had no problem with the Pegulas meeting with players.
“There’s a couple of things I think that we need to all understand. No. 1, I made the decision on letting Greg Roman go. I think that’s it, final,” Ryan said. “In regards to the reports about how players were seeing ownership, that happens all the time.”
Ryan said he considers it a positive that the Pegulas get involved, and added they don’t need his permission to speak to anyone because they own the team.
As for the report, Ryan dismissed it as being unfounded.
“Do I believe some of the reports that are out there? No,” he said. “I know that some are ridiculous.”
Ryan is taking heat with Buffalo off to an 0-2 start in his second season as coach.
First, the offense sputtered in a 13-7 season-opening loss at Baltimore. Then it was the defense’s turn to unravel in a 37-31 loss to Ryan’s former team, the Jets, on Thursday. The Bills’ schedule continues to be daunting, with Buffalo hosting Arizona on Sunday before traveling to New England on Oct. 2.
Ryan acknowledged it wasn’t an ideal time to fire Roman, but said he recognized a need to make a change to kick start the Tyrod Taylor-led attack. The Bills have had difficulty sustaining drives in combining for just 27 first downs and 553 yards offense in two games.
Anthony Lynn, the team’s running backs/assistant head coach, was promoted to coordinator. Lynn was overseeing the offense on Monday, when the Bills held a brief practice following a two-day break.
Though much of the offensive playbook will remain the same, Ryan expects Lynn to devise an aggressive attack and emphasize Buffalo’s playmakers.
Receiver Sammy Watkins has been limited to six catches for 63 yards. Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy-led ground game has particularly struggled in combining for 151 yards rushing a season after leading the NFL with 2,432.
Watkins said it was too early to judge what impact Lynn might have after just one practice.
Without going into much detail, Watkins said he was one of the players who met with the Pegulas on Friday. Watkins said the discussion centered on what the Bills need as a team, and nothing specifically involving Roman.
He said the players should take the blame for what’s gone wrong.
“We can’t blame anybody,” Watkins said. “We can do better and play better. And there’s things we need to fix. We talked about that.”
The Bills are coming off a tumultuous offseason dominated by player suspensions and injuries. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and right tackle Seantrel Henderson are serving four-game suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Running back Karlos Williams was also suspended before being released last month.
Injuries sidelined Buffalo’s top two draft picks, defensive end Shaq Lawson (shoulder) and linebacker Reggie Ragland (knee). And Watkins is playing despite still feeling soreness in his surgically repaired left foot.
The abruptness of Roman’s firing adds to a belief the Bills are in crisis, a perception Ryan acknowledged and dismissed.
“When you look at it from afar, you make a change at a coordinator position, we’re 0-2, I get that,” Ryan said. “I think in our room, our guys are focused on getting better.”
NOTES: Watkins practiced Monday and said he fully expects to play Sunday. … LT Cordy Glenn (left ankle) did not practice and Ryan said it’s too early to determine whether the starter will miss a second consecutive game. … Buffalo signed OT Williams Poehls to its practice squad and released OT Chris Martin.