It’s been a bad week for the Buffalo Bills, bad enough to get SI.com to send Don Banks to Western New York with questions about the rash of adversity.
Along the way, Bills coach Rex Ryan blurted out something that seems a little far-fetched on its face — and could be a borderline violation of the tampering rules.
“Has he missed a little time?” Ryan said regarding the notion that 2014 first-round wideout Sammy Watkins is injury prone. “Yeah. Big deal. He and everyone else. [Odell] Beckham kid came out the same year, and he missed how many games with a hamstring issue? Believe me, I was trying to trade for him [with the Jets] when he had the hamstring. I was reading the [New York] papers, and I was like, ‘Well, hell, we’ll take him.'”
Beckham missed four regular-season games to start his career, but then racked up 1,305 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games. Still, Beckham’s lack of availability prompted comments of concern from former Giants coach Tom Coughlin. Those remarks likely caught Ryan’s ear.
By 2014, however, Ryan’s wings had been clipped, with G.M. John Idzik firmly in charge of the roster and Rex coaching whomever Idzik gave him. Moreover, the fact that no word of a potential trade of Beckham was leaked to the ever-swarming New York media suggests that there was no effort to pull off a cross-town swap — especially since news of a desire by the Jets to trade into the top 10 to select Beckham made its way to the media before the draft.
Meanwhile, it’s hard not to wonder whether Ryan’s comments about Beckham are aimed at pointing out that, while Ryan was still with the Jets, Bills G.M. Doug Whaley screwed the pooch by trading up from No. 9 to No. 4 to get Watkins when Whaley and the Bills could have stayed where they were and gotten Beckham, who to date has performed better than Watkins. With both Whaley and Ryan reportedly on an playoffs-or-step-off mandate for 2016, it makes sense to always be looking for any proof of one guy trying to pin the blame for the team’s struggles on the other guy.