Rex Ryan's first season in Buffalo has certainly caught the attention of the team's former players. Bills legend Thurman Thomas weighed in Thursday on Ryan, and what it will take for him to be successful during his tenure.
"When you bring in a coach like Rex Ryan, I think at the end of the season, he learned to (be) 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 on CBS Sports Radio, via ESPN.com. "So I think this year, coming into it, you're going to see a different Rex Ryan. I think that's gonna 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 terms of being the right coach, Ryan ended up being a solid choice. He energized the fan base, and pushed his general manager to sign and trade for high-profile talent. He pushed his staff to develop a quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and managed to set the team up to compete in 2016. But Ryan will always be the victim of his own honesty and passion, which is why so many of the same things were said about him during his tenure with the Jets.
After New York reached back-to-back AFC title games, Ryan was accused of talking too much and placing a target on the backs of his players. He ended up muzzling himself as the team slowly pushed away from the same energy that brought the franchise its most recognition in decades.
That Rex Ryan was sad, combative and nowhere near the joy he is when he can be himself. Thomas told CBS Sports Radio that a different Rex Ryan would be a "shocker" to the country. Would it be? Or would it be a repeat of everything we grew to mourn during the tail end of his tenure in New York?