By Gregory Hunt
Ever since the New England Patriots hired Bill Belichick as their head coach in 2000, the Buffalo Bills have experienced very little success against the Patriots (a 4-26 record, including a victory in Week 17 last year against a Patriots team that had already clinched a first-round playoff bye). However, under new head coach Rex Ryan and a re-vamped offense, the Bills are looking to change that. The 1-0 Patriots are meeting meeting the 1-0 Bills Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Bill Belichick admires the Bills offense
At a Wednesday morning press conference at Foxboro, Belichick used the word “explosive” several times when discussing the Bills.
“Offensively they had a lot of explosive plays,” said Belichick when describing Buffalo’s 27-14 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week One. “They got them from everybody. The receivers, tight ends, quarterback, running back. So, good football team. Well-coached. Very explosive.”
Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor is extremely mobile. Against the Colts, he ran for 41 yards in addition to passing for 195 yards and one touchdown. Running back LeSean McCoy is dangerous in both the rushing game and the passing game, while wide receiver Percy Harvin is a big-play threat. All three players played elsewhere last season, so the Buffalo offense looks radically different this season.
“They have a lot of guys that can score from pretty much anywhere on the field,” said Belichick. “We’re going to have our hands full in terms of defending them.”
Rex Ryan is not scared of the Patriots
Not long after being named head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, Ryan said about his new job, “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s, you know, rings. I came to win. Let’s just put it that way. So we’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else.” That was the first statement in an AFC East rivalry between Ryan and Belichick that was very entertaining to watch.
Ryan left the Jets after a 4-12 season in 2014, but he was quickly hired by the Bills, which is allowing the rivalry to continue uninterrupted. At a press conference at Orchard Park on Wednesday, Ryan expressed respect for the success the Patriots have achieved over under Belichick, but he still refuses to be intimidated.
“I dislike the fact that I haven’t been that successful against them,” said Ryan, referring to his 3-9 regular season record against Belichick (although Ryan did win their one playoff meeting). “I respect them probably as much as I respect any team in the league, but we don’t fear them. We don’t fear anybody. We’re looking forward to it.”
Patriots make several roster moves
Linebacker Dekota Watson, who was released by the Patriots on August 31, was re-signed by New England and added to the active roster Wednesday. In five previous season in the NFL, he had stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys. The Florida State product was a standout track & field sprinter and jumper in high school, so he adds some extra speed to New England’s linebacking corps. He should also see some action on special teams.
Watson takes the roster spot of linebacker Eric Martin, who was released on Friday one day after playing in Thursday’s season-opening 28-21 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Martin was brought back to the team Wednesday when the Patriots signed him to their practice squad. Also on Wednesday, the Patriots released linebacker Alex Singleton and defensive lineman Jimmy Staten from their practice squad. New England’s practice squad currently has one vacant spot.
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.