LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins say Bills lacked discipline under Rex Ryan

ByMike Rodak ESPN logo
Saturday, December 31, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the Buffalo Bills' two biggest stars on offense, say discipline among players was lacking under coach Rex Ryan, who was fired Tuesday.

"I think the discipline has been an issue," McCoy said Friday. "Players just [need to take] accountability for their own actions. ... I just think as players, as professionals, we need to step up and play accountable. That's the biggest issue."

"It's discipline," Watkins said Thursday. "Whatever around the locker room that needs to be addressed -- on the field, off the field, flags, whether it's a running drill. ... I just think being professional as players [needs to be] fixed first.

"Then the coaches have to be hard on us, not scared of us. Get at us, yell at us, curse at us. Whatever to get the player to do that job the best he can, that's what they need to do."

McCoy said Friday that some players had issues being on time and knowing their assignments on the field while playing for Ryan. Players faced fines for being late to meetings, but McCoy suggested that measure was ineffective, given players' salaries.

"There's too many times where it happens on the field where there's a blown assignment that may be a sack or may be a touchdown," McCoy said. "Everybody is looking at each other. No. Dial in and know your job so we don't have that."

The Bills will enter the offseason having not made the playoffs for the 17th straight year. Watkins called for a culture change among the "players, the coaches, the organization."

Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, cited his college coach -- Clemson's Dabo Swinney -- as an example of what the Bills need to find in their next coach.

"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. Every game I came into, I never thought I was going to lose it."

McCoy pointed to former Eagles and current Chiefs coach Andy Reid as an example of an "excellent" coach but said he believed it was not necessary for a "strict" coach to replace Ryan.

"[Reid] lets his players show their true emotions, show their true personalities," McCoy said. "I don't think it matters as far as what type of coach you have. As long as you have a respectful coach that wants to win and is doing everything in his power to help us win."

The Bills enter Sunday's finale with a 7-8 record, but McCoy sees his team as being closer to being a contender than its record would suggest.

"Every game we're in that we lose, we're in a dogfight," McCoy said. "I'm sure when people put the tape on, it's not an easy cake going on. ... 'We got the Bills; let's get our stats up.' Nah. We come in and play every week. We have good games.

"So the talent is definitely here. It's the small part about being disciplined as a team. There's no reason why we should be high on penalties. There's no reason why we should be high on missed opportunities, missed mistakes. It shouldn't happen. I think that's the difference."

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