It's been reported that John Blake is set to join the Buffalo Bills as their new defensive line coach. Bills head coach Rex Ryan served as Blake's defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 1998 so the hire makes sense as the two have worked together in the past.
As it turns out, Blake has also worked with at least one Bills defender. In a piece on Blake working with Jason Pierre-Paul as a mentor, the defensive line coach mentioned to Peter King that he's worked with Jerry Hughes.
“I’ve trained a lot of defensive lineman—Dwight Freeney, Jerry Hughes, Robert Quinn, others. I think it’s a gift I have. Eugene Parker reached out to me after the accident and said, ‘Jason needs you now.’ When I first saw Jason, he was down. Discouraged. The first thing I said was, ‘Look, my friend, get your head up. Forget about your hand. It’ll heal. You made a mistake. We’ve all made them. So let’s start working on rushing the passer.’"
It's unknown how long Blake trained Hughes, but it's worth noting that he has ties to a current Bills player.
He also has ties to a former Rex Ryan player: Quinton Coples. Blake served as Coples' defensive line coach at North Carolina from 2008-2010. During their time together at North Carolina, Coples racked up 25.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in three seasons together.
Coples is currently a free agent and he visited with the Los Angeles Rams on Monday. It's very possible that Coples signs in L.A. or elsewhere, but until then it's another interesting connection that the Bills could explore.null