New Bills coach Rex Ryan has no illusions about his team being able to win games on the arm of the quarterback, whether it’s Matt Cassel or EJ Manuel. So Ryan is hoping to beat teams on the ground.
“We prefer to ground and pound it, we’re going to run it 50 times if we can on you,” Ryan said on WGR 550-AM in Buffalo, via the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
If there’s any coach who would love to play that way, it’s Ryan. As coach of the Jets last season, his team had 49 runs for 277 yards — and just 13 passes for 49 yards — in a 16-13 loss to the Dolphins. But Ryan knows it’s hard to win in the NFL that way.
“We’re not naive enough to think we’re going to be able to get away with that,” Ryan said of running all game. “We can spread you out and create some nightmares in coverage. If you want to stop our run by keeping all the big guys in there, then so be it, we’ll be able to hurt you in a lot of different ways outside.”
Ryan is right that the Bills do have a lot of weapons in their offense even beyond their deep running back depth chart of LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown. The Bills have talented young receivers in Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, and the additions of Percy Harvin and Charles Clay in free agency should have a big impact.
The problem, however, is that no matter what they’ve done anywhere else, they’re still stuck with either Cassel or Manuel at quarterback. Given that, running 50 times a game really might be the best chance the Bills have of winning.