Toast-of-the-town Bills host Team Turmoil Raiders Print
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Saturday, 20 September 2008 18:13
NFL Headline News

 ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Only in Oakland, where the Raiders have all but secured exclusive naming rights to ``Team Turmoil,'' can coach Lane Kiffin - coming off a win, no less - find himself on the hot seat three weeks into the season.
``You go for a jog and you feel like it's paparazzi, because the TV cameras are following you and they're asking if you're still the coach of the Raiders,'' Kiffin said.
``I felt like Brad Pitt,'' Kiffin added, though it was pointed out that he was being treated more like Britney Spears. ``I said Brad, not Britney.''
as reward for helping the Bills get off to their first 2-0 start in five years.
``Yeah, around town people are getting excited,'' Whitner said, who couldn't remember the name of the drink but did note its effect. ``It was strong.''
Of course, Whitner added, the only thing stronger would be the Bills getting off to a 3-0 start, which would be their best since 1992.
Two original American Football League franchises that have fallen on troubled times this decade - with one winning season between them in the past five years - find themselves at polar opposites preparing for their game at Orchard Park on Sunday.
``I feel bad for our players that they have to deal with it,'' said Kiffin, who learned through media reports of the possibility of being fired by owner Al Davis. ``No, I have not had communication with (Davis) over the last two weeks. ... As crazy as it sounds, I know as much as you guys know.''
What makes the situation even more awkward is the Raiders (1-1) are approaching yet another potentially dysfunctional juncture in Davis' whim-driven rule at a time when they are coming off a surprising and resilient win.
After opening the season with a dreadful 41-14 home loss to Denver, Oakland bounced back with a dominating 23-8 victory at Kansas City.
touchdown as part of a 300-yard rushing attack - the most by the Raiders in 21 years. Even Oakland's defense, criticized for its porous performance against Denver, showed up by producing five sacks, two interceptions and limiting the Chiefs to 190 yards.
``We proved that we can bounce back on other teams,'' defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. ``That was encouraging.''
What wasn't encouraging was Kelly being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence following the win and after the team returned to Oakland. Kelly apologized and accepted responsibility for what happened, saying he made a bad mistake.
The Bills have been playing to near perfection in beating two teams that made the playoffs a year ago. Buffalo opened with a convincing 34-10 win at home against Seattle, and followed with an impressive 20-16 victory at Jacksonville. The young Trent Edwards-led offense rallied to score 10 points in the final 4 minutes.
Beating the Jaguars had all the appearances of an early-season victory that could prove definitive for a team on a mission to end an eight-year playoff drought.
Edwards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 107.7 passer rating in two games, has already begun answering questions in showing he can be a bona fide NFL starter in only his second pro season.
o flexing its muscles. Anchored by newly acquired veteran tackle Marcus Stroud, the defense has yet to allow 100 yards rushing in a game, given up two touchdowns, generated seven sacks and limited opponents to converting 5-of-27 third-down chances.
Add it up and the Bills opened this week as 9-point favorites.
Aware of the buzz the Bills are generating, coach Dick Jauron reminded everyone that the season is still early. This is no time for overconfidence, especially for a team that's not made the playoffs since 1999.
``I don't think there's any way that this could be an overconfident football team,'' Jauron said. ``We just haven't won enough consistently to feel like we've arrived anywhere.''
Punter Brian Moorman, who joins defensive end Aaron Schobel as the current team's longest-serving member, has been through too many losing seasons to start crowing just yet.
``I remember when we went 2-0 five years ago, and everybody was talking Super Bowl,'' Moorman said. ``Well, you know what, we ended up 6-10. This team's not taking anything for granted.''
The mood of the Raiders is a far more unstable, and difficult to gauge.
wing even before I got here. So, you know, I'm just rolling with the punches.''
 

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