The Buffalo Bills introduced Rex Ryan as their new head coach on Wednesday afternoon, and he immediately showed his bravado by telling reporters that he is ready to take the team to the playoffs. The Bills own the longest current postseason drought in the NFL, and this year's 9-7 record was their first winning season in a decade. But Ryan repeatedly promised that he will have his team prepared for every opponent, knowing that he only has "one more shot" at being a head coach.
"I know it's been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs. Well, get ready man. We're going," Ryan said. "Come September, this team will be ready, period. And that's it. That's going to be my statement, that's going to be my guarantee.
"We want to bring a championship to Buffalo."
Given his defensive background, it's no surprise that Ryan was enthused about a defense that finished the season ranked No. 4 in the league. However, Ryan thinks the Bills can do even better next season:
"I know we'll lead the league in defense. That's just the way it goes," he said. "We expect to play great defense, but we want to win and we don't care what it looks like. ... The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the wins and losses."
"We're going to build a bully and we're going to see if you're going to play us for 60 minutes."
Ryan's admitted that he was especially gung-ho about his new job after getting fired earlier this offseason. Following a 4-12 season, Ryan was relieved of his duties after six seasons with the New York Jets. Now with another AFC East team, he'll face the Jets twice a year, but he conceded that he was more looking forward to going up against the New England Patriots, who have won the division seven years in a row.
"That doesn't guarantee they're going to win it next year. And it doesn't mean that we can’t be the team on top," Ryan added.
"We're not afraid of anybody."
But first the Bills will have to figure out their quarterback situation. Ryan was noncommittal about EJ Manuel's future, saying the 2013 first-round pick would get the chance to compete for the job, but there is no guarantee that he'll be the Bills' starter in 2015. There will be an "evaluation process" with Manuel and other free agents, and Ryan acknowledged the possibility reuniting with Mark Sanchez, who was the quarterback during the Jets' AFC Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010. He said the coaching staff would "explore every avenue" when it comes to improving at the quarterback position.
Ryan went on to praise new offensive coordinator Greg Roman and said that they are in sync with their offensive philosophy. Both have relied heavily on the ground game in the past, and that likely won't change in Buffalo. Still, Ryan wants the Bills to get their best downfield threat involved more in the game plan:
"Are we going to do ground and pound? Yeah, you're darn right we are. Are we going to throw it? Yeah, we got Sammy Watkins outside -- why wouldn't we throw it?"
The Bills officially hired Ryan on Monday after former head coach Doug Marrone opted out of his contract, a move that new owner Terry Pegula admitted "shocked" him. On Wednesday, Ryan expressed his loyalty to the city, franchise and fans that he pledged to not let down. For a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1999, everyone in Buffalo hopes Ryan can deliver on his promises.