Bills head coach Rex Ryan has been hard at work the past week assembling his coaching staff, but on Tuesday he was at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. Ryan will be spending Tuesday evening with GM Doug Whaley and the college scouting department.
"I'm looking forward to that," Ryan told the John Murphy Show on location in Mobile. "Usually I know some people, I don't know any of the scouts. This will be a great opportunity for me, we're having dinner. Just to get to know somebody instead of just a name and picture in a media guide—really looking forward to that."
It's expected that Ryan will lay out some of the criteria that he looks for in players to the college scouting department so they'll be able to more effectively peg what prospects are the best fit for the Bills and their respective schemes.
Publicly however, Ryan wasn't sounding too particular about body types and other measurables.
"They've done a great job in the past, assembling the talent that's already here in Buffalo," said Ryan of the Bills personnel department. "We just want football players. That's it. I don't care what they look like, shapes and sizes—guys that are passionate and love to play the game. Those are the characteristics we're really looking for."
Not all head coaches take in the Senior Bowl practices live on location, but Ryan believes it makes a difference so he makes a point of attending.
"There are guys with more talent evaluating players than me, but I like to see guys out here in a live situation and going against some of the best college players in the country," he said. "It's easy. I think sometimes you can see the cream rising to the top and you're able to see that. It's real football out here. That's the most important thing to me."
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Ryan sounds like he seeks to find more of the intangibles in draft prospects when he observes them on the practice field in Mobile.
"You can also see their competitive fire when they're going up in these drills, how passionate these guys are," he said. "We want a team built on passion, built on guys that love to play the game. We're looking for Buffalo Bills. That's more important than what a guy can run."
The Bills sideline boss had some of his assistant coaches with him in Mobile to get a look at some of the talent on hand, including new quarterbacks coach David Lee, while the others have begun to work back at One Bills Drive. On the whole Ryan was pleased with the staff he's been able to assemble to this point.
"You've got to get on these coaches immediately because they'll get picked up by other people," he said. "We wanted to strike as fast as we could. We really were able to get a lot of outstanding coaches.
"It doesn't matter what they've done outside of each other, it's what we do collectively and the big point I make is that they coach with me, they don't coach for me. We're all about this as a team. We've been fortunate. We've been able to assemble a great coaching staff. It's built on guys who are great teachers, loyal people, and we all want the same thing. All we want to do is win."