While the Buffalo Bills‘ journey to the Super Bowl was cut devastatingly short following their 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Divisional Playoff game, the team’s 13-3 record during the regular season amid such adversity has made certain coaches sought-after targets.
The Bills’ assistant offensive line coach Ryan Wendell was considered a top candidate to become the Patriots’ new offensive line coordinator this offseason, as the former lineman played for New England for nine seasons and was a team captain during the team’s Super Bowl-winning year in 2014. But Bill Belichick and Co. ultimately hired former Univeristy of Oregon assistant Adrian Klemm.
There were no rumored reports swirling about other teams requesting to interview Wendell, so when ESPN‘s Dan Graziano tweeted, “Bills assistant OL coach Ryan Wendell is leaving to become the Rams’ offensive line coach,” late night on Wednesday, February 8, the news came as a major surprise. USA Today‘s Nick Wojton wrote on Thursday, “It appeared the Buffalo Bills were going to keep their assistant offensive line coach Ryan Wendell. Nevermind.”
Wendell, 36, has been a member of the Bills’ coaching staff since 2019 and spent one year as a coaching assistant before getting promoted to assistant offensive line coach in 2020. Aaron Kromer remains in Buffalo as the team’s lead offensive line coach. Funnily enough, Kromer previously held the title of offensive line coach with the Rams between 2017 and 2020, the exact role Wendell is taking over.
Twitter Had Strongly Mixed Reactions to Wendell Leaving for the Rams
While much of Bills Mafia was happy to see Wendell get a promotion, “Good for Coach Wendell! Onward and upward, Great opportunity,” one fan tweeted, other people couldn’t help but comment on how poorly the Bills offensive line performed this past season.
One Bills fan tweeted, “Have the rams seen the bills oline? They shouldn’t touch the equipment guy who washes the olines clothes,” while another man wrote, “Heck of a resume — helped coach up 3 Pro Bowl linemen this season!!!! (FYI – heavy sarcasm).”
While one Rams fan asked, “Why are most bill fans happy to see him leave?” the bulk of Los Angeles supporters were happy about the new hire, especially due to the Fresno State’s experience an NFL lineman.
Wendelle signed with the Patriots after going undrafted in 2008. The center/right guard appeared in 80 games and started 49 of them, per Pro Football Reference. He spent the final season of his career with the Panthers in 2016, which overlapped with Bills head coach Sean McDermott’s last year serving as Carolina’s defensive coordinator.
The Rams Brothers podcast hosts tweeted, “Wendell is a great hire as the Rams’ new offensive line coach. Think them stealing from one of Kromer’s top guys & adding another 36 year old with tons of upside/playing experience was exactly what they wanted to do,” while Downtown Rams CEO Jake Ellenbogen wrote, “Interesting name. This feels like a real good hire.”
The Bills are Shaking Up the Defensive Coaching Staff
It’s unclear who the Bills will hire to replace Wendell, but the team is already shaking up staff on the defensive side. After replacing longtime safeties coach Jim Salgado with Joe Danna, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Wednesday that Buffalo will be adding Al Holcomb as their new senior defensive assistant.
While many fans would love to see veteran defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier get the boot, Bills general manager Brandon Beane strongly insutuated that he has no plans to move on from Frazier or offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey during his end-of-year press conference.