Banged-up Bills showing no sign of quit in preparing to face Jets Print
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Thursday, 27 September 2007 12:56
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 ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Pinned on the bulletin board at the entrance of the Buffalo Bills' locker room is the poem, `Don't You Quit,' a sign of inspiration and a reminder of the adversity the team has already faced.
In a season that's so far been defined by injuries and morale-busting losses, the Bills are desperately searching to find any semblance of positive perspective after an 0-3 start and with the AFC East-rival New York Jets coming to town Sunday.
Punter Brian Moorman is confident the Bills are a good bounce or two from turning things around, while receiver Lee Evans maintains this team has overcome slow starts in the past.
``We're only in Week 3. It's still really, really early,'' Evans said. ``And we've been here before.''
But never like this.
As bad as the Bills have been this decade, a seven-year stretch in which they're on their fourth head coach, had six starting quarterbacks, one winning season and a 3-13 finish in 2001, none of those teams had to contend with what's happened this year.
The Bills are mentally and physically shaken following two 20-plus point losses and another decided on the final play of regulation, and have watched player after player - it's up to seven now - placed on season-ending injured reserve.
The banged-up group includes tight end Kevin Everett, who is unlikely to play again as he recovers from what had been a life-threatening spinal cord injury sustained in the season opener.
Whatever chances Buffalo has to salvage a campaign that's suddenly pointing south begins against the Jets (1-2), the Bills' first opponent this season with a losing record and a contest that opens a three-game homestand that continues with Dallas (3-0) on Oct. 8 and Baltimore (2-1) following Buffalo's bye week.
``We're done with that,'' tight end Robert Royal said, when asked how frustrated the team is. ``New Bills, new team, starting out this week and getting ready for the Jets.''
And New York players aren't taking their opponents for granted, in part because the Jets aren't exactly off to a stellar start either after nearly squandering an 18-point fourth-quarter lead in a 31-28 win over Miami last weekend.
``They play extremely hard and they've been dealing with some injuries,'' quarterback Chad Pennington said of the Bills. ``I think the danger is looking at the stats ... and thinking the ball is just going to go all over the place.''
Jets coach Eric Mangini can empathize with what the Bills have gone through, but that's as far as he'll go.
``It's always a tough situation, and you always want your team to be as healthy as possible,'' Mangini said. ``Regardless of what their record is, if you just put on the video, you see what we're facing this week.''
Which begs the question of what videos Mangini's viewing.
The Bills have been difficult to watch.
The offense is sputtering, having mustered 600 yards in three games, which is 115 fewer than the Patriots put up on Buffalo in last weekend's 38-7 victory.
It gets worse. With quarterback J.P. Losman out with a sprained knee, rookie third-round draft pick Trent Edwards will make his first career start this weekend.
d opponents to punt six times on 30 possessions.
``You are irritated and frustrated,'' defensive end Aaron Schobel said. ``It has been a tough start, but it's a long season. Let's see if we can get rolling.''
The Jets have an opportunity to do the same after avoiding their own 0-3 start, and now that they're discovering their chemistry.
That's especially evident on offense, where Pennington returned after missing one game with an ankle injury and newly acquired running back Thomas Jones found his legs. Acquired in an offseason trade with Chicago, Jones had 110 yards rushing against Miami last week, surpassing the combined total of 109 yards he had in his first two games.
The Jets defense also produced its first turnover - Kerry Rhodes' interception - and first sack - by Shaun Ellis - of the season last weekend.
``We're doing all right,'' receiver Laveranues Coles said. ``It's good to get in the win column finally. But it's still one win. We have a long way to go.''
For the Bills, the road's even longer.
 

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