ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- With his team needing a win Sunday against the New York Jets to secure an 8-8 record this season, coach Rex Ryan expressed regret Monday about talking up the Buffalo Bills as a playoff team during the offseason.
"I think we got a great thing going here. We just didn't produce the wins I thought we would," Ryan told WGR 550 radio in Buffalo. "The thing that kind of gives this team a black eye when we're looking at it is that I let my mouth get ahead of everything. And I think if I would have come in there and just said, 'Hey, we're gonna compete,' and do all that stuff, maybe we wouldn't have such a bad feeling about this team.
"This team doesn't deserve that. This team has fought, and they've played extremely hard. We've had a lot of things happen this year where we've felt, where we've came up short. There's no question about it. But I think I could have handled it differently."
Ryan made several bold statements upon becoming the Bills' coach in January, including saying that the Bills would make the playoffs and that their defense would lead the NFL.
Instead, the Bills will miss the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season and the defense has slipped from fourth to 20th in yards allowed this season.
"I will say this: I'm proud of the guys. I think our guys have played hard. We haven't -- we made enough mistakes to be where we're at," Ryan said. "We didn't deserve to be in the playoffs because you got to earn that. We didn't earn that this year. But we're gonna work extremely hard -- I'm gonna promise you that -- and give it everything we have."
Ryan's comments were a change of tone for the normally confident coach who defended as recently as last week the high bar that he set for the Bills this season.
"Our expectations were set high," Ryan said Dec. 21. "We expected to be a team that would be in the playoffs. That is the expectations we set. That is what we believed would take place."