Earlier this month, Buffalo Bills great Thurman Thomas told CBS Sports Radio what a large portion of fans were probably thinking.
The Pro Hall of Famer believed Ryan "learned his lesson" from a Year 1 full of boastful of proclamations.
"When you bring in a coach like Rex Ryan, I think at the end of the season, he learned to like, 'I can’t be saying a lot more stuff. I can’t be saying stuff like I did in the past. I got to really go out and prove that I’m worthy of being a head football coach in the National Football League,'" Thomas said. "So I think this year, coming into it, you’re going to see a different Rex Ryan. I think that’s going to be a shocker to a lot of different people around the country.
"But I think he’s learned his lesson. You have to perform on the field. And when you talk as much as he did last year, and the performance wasn’t there, a lot of people are going to doubt, ‘Are you the right coach for the Buffalo Bills?’ And I think now, he’s into his second year, I expect him to go to the playoffs. But we’ll wait and see on that."
In a NFL Network interview that aired Wednesday, Ryan responded.
And to use a go-to Rexism, THIS JUST IN, Ryan doesn't plan on changing.
"First off I think with Thurman --- and I really like Thurman --- he cares deeply about his team," Ryan said. "I expected to be in the playoffs last year. Didn't happen and we're all disappointed about it, there is no question about it. I'm hoping for different results but I'll always be myself."
There haven't been any playoff promises yet, but it's also only March 31. There's still OTA's, minicamp and training camp ahead.
Considering Ryan's comments toward the end of the 2015 season, Thomas had every reason to think Ryan would change. The head coach told WGR 550 in late December that his talk "gave this team a black eye" because he "let my mouth get ahead of everything." Speaking to reporters two days later, Ryan was even more reflective in saying "The part about making the boasts and all that... maybe I've learned that maybe it's not the smartest thing."
Ryan said then his heart was in the right place when he predicted a playoff appearance for the Bills through that fire-breathing initial January news conference.
"But at the same time," Ryan said then, "it's like, 'Eh.' I never look at it as, 'What if this doesn't go exactly the way I would expect it to go.' Well, I'm seeing it right now. ... I just think, when I'm like, 'Hey, we're gonna be in the playoffs.' I just honestly, 100 percent believed that. I absolutely did, without question."
Of course, this admission was before he hired Rob Ryan, Ed Reed, fired Karl Dunbar and said he tried coaching a "half-pregnant" defense in 2016. Rex is doubling down and pressure on him will be high this season.
Apparently, we can expect Rex Ryan to be Rex Ryan, too.