The third preseason game typically serves as a regular-season dress rehearsal for teams league-wide — but not in Buffalo.
Saddled with a banged-up, suspension-addled roster, coach Rex Ryan used Friday night’s tune-up against the Redskins as a chance to rest the majority of his first-stringers, while yanking other key players after just two possessions.
“I’m doing what’s best for our team,” Ryan told the club’s television broadcast at halftime, per Mike Rodak of ESPN. “We want to show up at the starting game of the regular season.”
Ryan notably pulled Tyrod Taylor after just two drives that saw the starting quarterback absorb a sack and another punishing hit, leading the coach to question if Taylor should have dressed at all.
“Looks like a stupid decision to play him,” Ryan said, “because I never expected him to get hit.”
While Ryan can take comfort in how his starting defense played against the Colts and Giants, Buffalo is hardly operating at full speed as Week 1 fast approaches.
With Reggie Ragland (knee) out for the year and fellow rookie linebacker Shaq Lawson sidelined after shoulder surgery, the Bills are also planning to be without veteran D-lineman Marcell Dareus, who faces a four-game suspension.
Who can blame Rex? Buffalo’s wacky offseason has shoved the beleaguered coach behind the eight ball long before September. If Ryan can overcome all the summertime chaos, 2016 could be viewed as his best coaching job yet.