The Buffalo Bills began their voluntary Offseason Training Activities yesterday, ushering in what’s expected to be a new era of for a franchise that hasn’t made the postseason in 15 years. The hiring of Rex Ryan, a defensive mastermind who treads the fine line between confidence and cockiness put the team in the national spotlight immediately.
Then, the team made aggressive moves, acquiring legitimate superstars in running back LeSean Mccoy and wide receiver Percy Harvin, while awarding tight end Charles Clay a massive contract. There’s a new buzz surrounding those at One Bills Drive, and that positive energy seems to have taken ahold of the players.
Ryan is known for being a “players coach,” one who will go to bat for his guys and provide the confidence to those that need a little boost. His Jets’ teams, while featuring an embarrassing collection of talent over the past two seasons, stuck by his side and continued to sing his praises. Rex’s personality isn’t just a façade, as Percy Harvin made clear yesterday in his first meetings with the media since arriving in Buffalo.
“He’s just a players’ coach. He has no ego. You can go to him, his door is always open. He’s going to be 100-percent with you. You may not like it, but it’s going to be what he thinks is best for the team. He’s always open to suggestions so you can go to him at any time, you can call him at any time, and he just likes to come out here and have fun and win football games.”
Harvin is a player that has earned a poor reputation around the league as a “me-first” player that was apparently cancerous enough to be traded from the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks mid-season to the Jets. His little time in New York was all Harvin needed to see that Rex Ryan was someone that he wanted to continue playing for.
EJ Manuel, the team’s first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft dealt with his own struggles under Marrone’s staff. After multiple injuries and a dreadful two-game stretch that led to his benching last year, Manuel shares Harvin’s excitement for playing with a Rex Ryan-coached team, telling media members,
“I’m excited, I think it’s a clean slate for myself. I was so excited when Rex got the job and told me it would be an open competition. In my eyes, that’s all I want. That’s all I can ask for. Looking back on things, I learned a lot about the business of the NFL and my manhood and myself, just learning what I could handle and how to be a teammate.”
When asked about having a fresh start under Rex Ryan compared to the former coaching staff he said,
“I don’t know. A true fresh start, I don’t think so. I’m just trying to get back my position and be where I want to be. I don’t see it as pressure. Having Coach Ryan as our head coach, he gives you that confidence.”
While the games have to be played on the field, it’s not difficult to see that there’s a new culture brewing within the Bills’ organization and the players are already feeling the excitement that Rex brings to the table.