Preston Brown on delayed calls from coaches: 'Shouldn't happen'

Preston Brown: Coaches sending in play calls too late (2:36)

ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak discusses why Preston Brown is the latest member of Buffalo's defense to criticize the coaching staff. (2:36)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo linebacker Preston Brown said Tuesday that personnel and play calls have been coming in late from the coaches' booth this season.

It's the latest expression of frustration from a Bills defender in Rex Ryan's disappointing first season as coach.

"I don't know who that guy is [in the coaches' box], but we talk about it in the meetings," Brown said. "It's been an issue with the personnel coming in and out. I mean, you can see it on games: People are running in and out; we're changing plays here and there. So it's definitely been an issue."

Brown, who wears the team's defensive radio helmet to receive play calls from coaches, recalled how the Houston Texans scored a touchdown in a Dec. 6 Buffalo win when the Bills defense appeared confused during a substitution. That left Texans tight end Ryan Griffin wide open, prompting quarterback Brian Hoyer to hurry to the line and pass to Griffin.

"It's something that shouldn't happen," Brown said. "[Opposing offenses] run people in and off because they know we're having issues with that upstairs in the box. So people are going to keep doing it, running in and off. I mean, teams that usually are the slowest teams on the ball, they're hurrying up on us and trying to get plays because they know it's something that we've had issues with."

Brown said the Bills used a card system on the sideline under then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to receive personnel groupings from coaches last season, when the Bills allowed the NFL's fourth-fewest yards. They've sunk to 21st in yards allowed this season under Ryan and his longtime assistant, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.

"It seems this year there's been issues with it," Brown said. "We've definitely had discussions [with the coaches] that it has been an issue and they said it's something that it needs to be changed.

"It's so much thinking involved with [the defense]. A lot of guys [have] never been a part of [it]. It's definitely been difficult. At times, when [they] let us play, you can see we can be one of the best defenses in the league."

Brown's comments come two days after defensive end Mario Williams complained about the Bills' defensive substitution strategy following the team's 35-25 loss to the Washington Redskins.

"You saw the game, and you're trying to switch personnel as they're coming out of the huddle," Williams said. "I don't know who in the world is calling, saying what personnel they're in or whatever, or how is that confusing. But apparently it is.

"My mindset is, if you're an attack defense, you don't let anything else dictate what you do. We're gonna put who we're gonna put out there, and then we're gonna execute and make plays with the guys out there. I don't care -- I don't need to wait on you to make a decision. And whoever seems to be missing personnel, so that we're actually trying to switch. So we're trying to switch men. It's not like we're trying to switch plays. We're trying to switch men as they're coming out of the huddle.

"That's happened a few times in 10 years with me. A few times. That's 10 years. But like you said, game in, game out, I don't know how in the world that keeps happening."

Bills defensive back Corey Graham on Tuesday came to Ryan's defense, telling reporters that Williams is entitled to his opinion.

"When things aren't going your way, everybody's negative," Graham told reporters, via Syracuse.com. "That's how it is. I'm used to it. I'm not going to sit here and say one person's right and one person's wrong. Rex is proven in this league. He's been doing this a long time. One thing I can say about Rex, he's a smart guy. Very, very bright guy. He knows defense. He know what to do, what not to do. You just have to find your place, find your place in this scheme and find out what you need to do. ...

"As a professional, as a defensive guy, you just have to go out there, do your job, do what they ask you to do and do it to the best of your ability."