The difficulty in being Rex Ryan is that there are inevitable expectations created around your world-beating defenses and when those defenses don't perform under presumably ideal circumstances, the heat comes back two-fold.
Ryan's Bills are worse across the board than they were a year ago under then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, and according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Schwartz is missed among some of the players on defense.
One of those players is Mario Williams, who hasn't been shy about voicing his concerns with the scheme this season. Per Rapoport, don't be surprised if Williams doesn't return to Buffalo next season and hits the free-agent market. There is a "clear, fundamental disconnect" between Ryan and his defensive line and Williams might be at the heart of the trouble.
While Ryan's scheme is complicated, it has produced results in the past. The issue here might be getting certain players to buy in -- guys like Williams who are typically used in a pass-rush first role but Williams has been asked to shoulder a lot more responsibility. By all accounts, Williams, like Ryan, has had a bad season. His sack numbers are down and his run defense has not been fantastic, and while his tame rush numbers could be a product of Ryan's system, what does it say about Williams at age 30?
The prospect of him hitting free agency is not a surprise given that this is a logical walking away point for the Bills. Williams was a likely cut or restructure candidate coming into this season anyway, as the team likely will not want to be burdened with the back end of the six-year, $96 million contract.
As for Ryan, everyone in Buffalo knew what they were getting into. Ryan was going to come in and talk up his defense and work to devise a scheme that best utilized the talent. It has not worked out to this point, and it's much easier for the Bills to move on from Williams than it is to move on from Ryan. So Ryan will get the chance in 2016 to find players that will buy in and eliminate this groundswell of unhappiness. Williams will get the chance to prove that his poor season was the product of his coach, and nothing else.