ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rex Ryan is holding himself answerable for the Buffalo Bills’ slow start. At the same time, he’s made a significant change to his coaching staff by firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Roman was let go Friday in a bid to kick start the Bills’ sputtering Tyrod Taylor-led attack.
“I’m accountable for everything that goes on here,” Ryan said. “Offense, defense, special teams, anything, you name it. And I’m accountable for making decisions like this. It falls on me. And I accept those responsibilities.”
The team announced the move in an email released a day after Buffalo fell to 0-2 following a 37-31 loss to the New York Jets.
Running backs coach Anthony Lynn will take over as coordinator. Lynn also serves as an assistant head coach and has spent the past eight years working under Ryan.
Ryan called Lynn “an outstanding coach,” who has turned down opportunities to be an offensive coordinator in the past. Lynn also interviewed for the Miami Dolphins’ head coaching vacancy during the offseason.
“He commands respect. He’s got the respect of the entire locker room,” Ryan said. “He’s a smart guy, X and O’s guy. He’s a former world champion as a player. He comes from great stock.”
Roman was in his second season as coordinator, and was hired by Ryan when he took over the team in January 2015.
“I appreciate Greg Roman and the job he did for us. Always thought he’s a tremendous coach and I still believe that,” Ryan said. “But this is a decision that I think, going forward, is going to help our team and that’s why I did it.”
Ryan wouldn’t say what specific changes he hopes to see from the offense. But he indicated getting the ball to the Bills’ top playmakers would be a priority.
“We have a lot of talent on offense,” Ryan said. “I believe we are going to do what we can to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands, and I think Anthony will do that.”
The Bills’ offense is off to a sputtering start. It managed just 160 yards — Buffalo’s lowest total in a decade — in a season-opening 13-7 loss at Baltimore on Sunday. Against the Jets, the Bills had 307 yards offense, with more than half that coming on two plays: Taylor’s 84-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin and a 74-yard TD pass to Greg Salas.
Otherwise, Buffalo managed 16 first downs, had one drive reach the red zone, and converted 3 of 10 third-down chances.
Though Buffalo scored 31 points, seven came as a result of safety Nickell Robey-Coleman returning Jalin Marshall’s fumble 36 yards for a touchdown.
The running attack has particularly struggled a year after leading the NFL with 2,432 yards. Buffalo has combined for just 151 yards rushing in two games.
That’s not what was counted on from a unit that returned mostly intact and was expected to be more comfortable with Roman’s philosophies and playbook. Instead, Taylor has looked hesitant in the pocket and has had difficulty finding receivers over the middle.
Taylor went 8-6 as a first-time starter last year. The Bills believe Taylor has the opportunity to be their long-time starter after signing him to a six-year extension last month. The Bills, however, can opt out of the contract in each of the next two years.
Taylor, running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Sammy Watkins were not made available to the media after the team meetings Friday.
Guard Richie Incognito said he felt “terrible” for Roman, but believes the offense will rally under Lynn.
“I believe in the guys in the system and I believe in the guys in this locker room,” Incognito said. “I believe coach Lynn is going to do a great job. Being around him for two years, he’s got a tremendous work ethic, he’s got a ton of knowledge of this offense and what we are trying to do. It all falls back to believing.”
Roman was highly regarded by the Bills when he was hired. He was among the candidates who interviewed for head coach before owners Terry and Kim Pegula hired Ryan.
Roman was so eager to join Ryan’s staff he turned down opportunities with other teams and stayed near the Pegula’s home in Florida following his interview. He previously worked with Ryan when the two were assistants in Baltimore. Before being hired by Buffalo, he spent four seasons as 49ers offensive coordinator.
Roman’s dismissal is the latest in a series of shuffles Ryan has made to his staff.
In January, he hired his twin brother Rob to be an assistant head coach with a specific responsibility for defense. In March, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar was fired and replaced by John Blake.
AP freelancer Jonah Bronstein contributed to this report.