Bills spill their dislike of AFC East rival Patriots
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and the Buffalo Bills really don't like the New England Patriots. And they're not afraid to say it.
"Don't nobody like the Patriots," Dareus said. "Let's just be honest about it now. Put it out there."
Safety Aaron Williams referred to his dislike as being personal.
"I just don't like New England," Williams said, fully appreciating his comments will likely wind up being bulletin-board material.
"They're a great football team, don't get that twisted at all," he said, before adding: "It's just the way they carry themselves."
Now, Williams said, it's time for the Bills to start backing up their emotions on Sunday, when the Super Bowl champions travel to Orchard Park for an early-season AFC East showdown between two 1-0 teams.
The Bills have good reason to carry ill will toward New England after serving as the Patriots' personal patsies for much of the past 15 seasons. It's a span in which Buffalo has gone 3-26. That includes a mean-nothing 17-9 win in last year's season finale, when playoff-bound New England rested most of its starters after the first half.
This year, the Bills vow, will be different in their latest bid to end what now stands as a 15-season playoff drought - the NFL's longest active streak. To do so, they know they need to unseat the Patriots, who have claimed the division 11 times since 2002.
"I definitely think this is the most talented team I've been on," seventh-year center Eric Wood said. "So with that, I would assume it would make it our best team we've brought against them."
Buffalo opened with a 27-14 win over Indianapolis last weekend. And the team is coming off an offseason in which it restocked its roster with high-priced talent on offense, and returned one of the league's top defense's.
The Bills are further emboldened by the hiring of brash-talking coach, Rex Ryan, who was never afraid of taking a jab at the Patriots during his previous six-year tenure with the New York Jets.
"I respect them probably as much as any team in the league, but I don't fear them, I can tell you that much," Ryan said, referring to New England on Wednesday. "We don't fear anybody. In fact we're looking forward to it."
Ryan didn't come close to repeating what he said during his first season as Jets coach in 2009, when suggesting he had no intention of kissing Patriots coach Bill Belichick's Super Bowl rings.
And yet, Ryan made it clear that beating Belichick would be more meaningful than most any other regular-season win.
"It is a personal challenge because you want to go against the very best," said Ryan, whose Jets went 4-9 against the Patriots, including a playoff victory in 2010. "I'd much rather have a win and compete against a first-ballot Hall of Fame coach in Belichick than a slappy coach."
All the talk from Buffalo hardly resonated in New England.
"It doesn't matter to me," star quarterback Tom Brady said. "The games are won by what you do over the course of the week and how you go about your preparation, so that you can be prepared for the game on Sunday. He's a great coach. He's obviously got them confident. They're ready to go - sounds like they're already ready to go."
Belichick and Brady are aware that Ryan's arrival has generated a big buzz among Bills fans, who roared through much of the opener against Indianapolis.
The crowd might be even louder at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, though Belichick isn't overly concerned.
Noting that the Patriots can take the crowd out of the game by getting off to a fast start, Belichick said: "They will be as loud as we allow them to be."
A New England-based reporter posted Belichick's comment on his Twitter account. The Bills retweeted the comment on their team's account with the note: "That's cute."
"The game's at our place on Sunday, let's see what happens," Ryan said. "If they beat us they beat us, but we don't concede anything. We're not beat just because they get off the bus, like some teams."
NOTES: CB Corey Graham practiced on a limited basis while still being monitored for a concussion. His playing status is uncertain. ... The Bills will honor former GM Bill Polian, who will receive his Hall of Fame ring on Sunday.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL