McCoy, Watkins say Bills lacked discipline under Rex Ryan
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy and star receiver Sammy Watkins believe the next Bills' coach should hold players more accountable than Rex Ryan did the past two seasons in Buffalo.
''Discipline has been an issue,'' McCoy said Friday in his first public comments since the Bills fired Ryan on Tuesday.
McCoy cited players being late for meetings and missed assignments on the field as reasons for the Bills' struggles this season.
''The talent is definitely here,'' McCoy said. ''It's the small part. It's about being disciplined as a team. There's no reason why we should be high in penalties. There's no reason why we should be high in missed opportunities, missed mistakes. It shouldn't happen. I think that's the difference.''
The Bills (7-8) travel to play the New York Jets (4-11) on Sunday to close out another disappointing season. After starting 4-2, Buffalo will miss the playoffs for the 17th straight season, extending the fourth-longest postseason drought in NFL history.
Anthony Lynn was promoted from offensive coordinator to interim head coach following Ryan's firing on Tuesday and could be retained for next season.
Watkins said on Thursday that the Bills lacked discipline under Ryan's leadership and he hopes the next coach will change the culture around the team.
''The coaches have to be hard on us,'' Watkins said. ''Get at us, yell at us, curse at us. Whatever to get that player to do that job the best he can, that's what they need to do.''
Watkins praised his college coach, Clemson's Dabo Sweeney, as someone who found success using a disciplinarian approach.
''Coach Dabo was strict and that's what I think changed the culture and changed the players,'' Watkins said. ''We started winning. We started to expect to win.''
McCoy, however, said he didn't know ''if having a strict coach is the answer.''
''We need somebody that you're going to respect the coach, whatever he wants, we're going to get done,'' McCoy said. ''Once you have a leader you respect, it's easy to follow. That's never been a problem with me for sure, no matter who the coach is, but everybody's different.''
McCoy mentioned his former Eagles coach, Andy Reid, as an ''excellent'' example. ''He lets his players show their true emotions and lets players show their true personalities,'' McCoy said.
McCoy was critical of Chip Kelly, Reid's replacement in Philadelphia, after Kelly traded McCoy to Buffalo following the 2014 season.
Watkins and McCoy both voiced support for Ryan in recent weeks after the coach's job security came into question.
''I don't want to keep going through all this craziness,'' Watkins said on Dec. 14. ''That kills a player and a team and an organization. I'm trying to move forward and trying to work on what I need to work on. I feel like with the coaches that we got, we can do it.''
McCoy said after the Bills win over the Browns on Dec. 18 that Ryan should get ''enough time with this team to build, to get a new chemistry here, a new culture of winning football. I just think he gets the blame for a lot of things that he cannot control.''
But now that Ryan's gone, McCoy is blaming the coach for the Bills' discipline issues.
''I'm not going to lie to you,'' McCoy said. ''I have to come here early now with the new rules and the new head coach.''
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