Rex Ryan has a long-standing reputation for colorful boldness. That was on exhibit back when he was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, and it is on display again now in his TV analyst work as he is ripping to shreds the performance and the qualifications of a fellow member of the NFL coaching fraternity.
"He needs to go back to Division III where he belongs!" Ryan hooted at Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.
What's the context here? The Chargers lost 23-20 to the Green Bay Packers on NFL Week 11 Sunday, and they lost as they so often do: By failing to seal the deal late in the game.
That has Ryan, speaking on ESPN's Get Up, not only calling for Staley to lose his job, but also sarcastically recommending that he be required to reboot his career by going all the way back to the Division III level.
"He needs to go back to Division III where he belongs," Ryan said."Look at his resume, I'm sorry. Dude comes in there, one year as a coordinator of a team that my wife could coach ... Second-highest payroll in the National Football League on defense and they're the second worst. This team is atrocious."
In Staley's three years with the Chargers, he's gone 10-8 and 9-7 before this year stumbling to a 4-6 record. "Atrocious'' therefore may be a bit strong. But it is true that L.A.'s roster has been loaded with big-name talent, including QB Justin Herbert and offensive weapons Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen, and defensive studs including Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.
Staley is not helping his case in his dealings with the inquiring media, this week attempting to "order'' reporters to quit asking questions he finds perturbing; of course, that's not how it works with the media in a press conference ... and obviously that's not how it works with Ryan, either.
Staley, by the way, did previously coach Division III football as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at John Carroll University in Ohio in 2013 and 2015-16. ... before eventually serving a one-year stint in 2020 as the defensive coordinator stint with the Los Angeles Rams ... work that vaulted him to the top job with the Chargers.
Staley has compiled a 23-21 overall record with the Chargers, and no, Mrs. Michelle Ryan probably literally could not do that. So Ryan's exaggerating there. Additionally, Rex himself knows something about making a big leap to the NFL; he was coaching at Eastern Kentucky and then New Mexico Highlands and Morehead State when in 1994 he got hired onto the Arizona Cardinals staff ...
Because his dad, the legendary Buddy Ryan, hired him.
So it's not necessary about how a coach forged his path to the NFL. It's more about what he's doing with his chance. And Ryan's biting analysis aside, yes, while Staley is not likely heading back to John Carroll University, his seat in Los Angeles is obviously hot.