It seems apparent that he will lose all exchanges against other characters when trading normals. There’s no way to space out other characters and discourage them from attacking when I throw out spaced kicks.
That’s what your fireball is for. Ryu isn’t gonna out button anyone in this game, but fireballs will beat out any poke.
If you can AA consistently, then fireball at the range where they can’t react to it. Normally it’s outside of their longest poke. If you can’t AA consistently, then you need to work on that because people won’t respect your ground game if you can’t keep them there.
Once you establish they can’t get in and press buttons for free then they’ll have to make a read and jump in, and that’s when you SRK.
If they decide to bulldog and walk and block until you wind up in the corner, then that means they aren’t pressing buttons in neutral and they aren’t jumping, so you dash in and press buttons or grab or whatever.
You still have to mix up your fireball placements and your dash ins, and your normals still have a place in neutral, but your fireball is your best “normal.”
Has any of this changed since the patch?
It was never true to begin with.