Bills head coach Rex Ryan stood at the postgame lectern after the team's 35-25 loss to Washington Sunday with an exasperated expression as he tried to explain how his defensive unit was unable to hold Kirk Cousins and the Washington offensive unit off the scoreboard. Now eliminated from playoff contention Ryan foresees a healthy amount of changes for the team in the offseason.
After praising the collective effort of his players in Sunday's loss and assuring that the team's week to week performance will improve in time, Ryan also shared the likelihood of sweeping change to a roster that has fallen short of expectations.
"We're going to get better," Ryan said. "The reality of it is this. This is the National Football League and unless we get a heck of a lot better there are going to be changes. That's what I told them there will be drastic changes."
Ryan hinted that repeated errors won't reflect well when season-ending reviews are made, as well as hesitating on the field and not being aggressive.
"We've just got to get better and quit making mistakes and don't be afraid to make a play," he said. "Attack the football. That's something we've got to get better at obviously."
When asked what kind of changes could take place, Ryan chose not to get into specifics.
"I don't know we'll see," he said. "There are always changes. When you have a season like this then you have to consider changes. I don't think there's any doubt about that. This is the NFL, everybody is evaluated in this league. You can read between the lines."
Ryan referenced injuries as a contributing factor to Buffalo's problems in finding consistency this season, but that there is more to their deficiencies than that.
"You have to look at other things as well," said Ryan. "We have two games to prove that we belong here and that's every coach, every player, everybody. And that's the reality of this business."
Ryan was asked about answering to owners Terry and Kim Pegula at season's end following the team's final two games.
"I know one thing, I'm going to fight and they'll see that," said Ryan of the Pegulas. "And I'm not afraid of that or to put myself right there as well. Everybody should feel the same way I do. I have something to prove these two weeks and that's just the way I approach it. If you're a competitor, especially the way we want this organization to compete then we'll step up and show what we're made of."
Buffalo's head coach also expressed deep disappointment that the team could not make good on ending the club's playoff drought in 2015.
"I'm personally responsible for one of those," Ryan said in reference to the team's playoff drought. "So I get it. I know we'll go. There's a good nucleus here. There's an excellent group here. Did it go according to plan? No, not this year. I thought in my heart of hearts that we'd be good enough to make a playoff run. I really did. I totally believed that.
"There are contributing factors, we get it and I certainly get it. I've been in this game a long time. I understand the fans' frustration. Shoot, I feel personally responsible and I don't want to let our fans down. I don't, more than anything. It just pains me that we couldn't deliver this year."