Not Ready For Prime Time: Bills Open Season Hosting Jets

Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams isn't going to lose sleep over Rex Ryan's TV viewing preferences this weekend.

If Ryan has no interest watching two of his former teams open the season Sunday, when the New York Jets travel to play Buffalo, that's fine by Williams.

"Whoever doesn't want to watch the game or watch the game, I don't care," Williams said. "I like Rex. I don't have anything against Rex. But that doesn't have any bearing on my attitude or anything like that."

Williams' comments were in response to what the coach-turned-broadcaster told his new employer, ESPN.com, when asked if Ryan might tune in.

"Hell, no," Ryan was quoted as saying as he prepares to join Beth Mowins to call the Broncos-Chargers game on Monday night. "There's a lot better games than that one."

The Jets and Bills might be as far as removed from prime time as must-see TV goes. It's a game matching two patchwork AFC East rivals showing the hallmark signs of being in rebuilding stages following extensive offseason overhauls.

The Bills have a new coach in Sean McDermott, who takes over after Ryan was fired in the final week of last season. They feature an opening-day roster of 22 players who appeared in a game for Buffalo last year.

In New York, the youth movement has cut so deep, the chants of "J-E-T-S" have turned to "T-A-N-K" for a team in contention to finish last and land the No. 1 draft pick.

Entering his third season since replacing Ryan with the Jets, coach Todd Bowles won't hear any of it.

"You tune it out, man," he said. "Everybody gets paid to talk and do whatever they have to do. You've just got to make sure the core of your building is tight, the core of our team is tight and don't worry about the outside noise."

The Jets have 32 players left from last year, but feature 11 with one or fewer season of NFL experience. That includes New York starting an all-rookie safety tandem in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

Buffalo has been busy transforming its roster through trades — receiver Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby were moved in separate deals on Aug. 11 — to stockpile draft picks.

Running back LeSean McCoy maintains confidence in the Bills' talent.

"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion," McCoy said. "My sense in guys I'm playing with and for is we're trying to win now."

BILLS QB WATCH: Starter Tyrod Taylor is cleared for action after recovering from a concussion he sustained in a 13-9 preseason loss at Baltimore on Aug. 26. Taylor, however, missed 10 days of practice in losing valuable time to develop chemistry with a retooled group of receivers now led by Jordan Matthews and rookie Zay Jones.

Entering his third season in Buffalo, he's also challenged to prove himself over again to a new regime.

"In this league, everyone has to prove themselves," Taylor said. "More importantly, it's not about me. It's about this team."

JETS QB WATCH: At 38, Josh McCown got the nod in New York, beating out Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. McCown is now on his 10th NFL team in 15 seasons after spending the past two in Cleveland.

He's also searching for his first win as a starter in nearly two years. McCown has lost seven straight since going 36 for 51 for career-best 457 yards in Browns' 33-30 win at Baltimore on Oct. 11, 2015.

The Jets' mostly young and inexperienced receivers are led by Jermaine Kearse, acquired in a trade that defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to Seattle last week.

RUN-STUFFERS: The Jets' defense has finished in the NFL's top five in yards rushing allowed in each of the past five seasons. Bowles is confident his defensive front will remain stout despite Richardson's departure.

"That was our deepest position at the time," Bowles said, referring to a front-three made up of Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon and Muhammad Wilkerson. "You don't replace a guy like (Richardson). You just do different things."

ON THE RUN: At 29, McCoy doesn't believe he's lost a step. He's also excited to hear McDermott suggest he's open to McCoy playing every offensive snap if it leads to a victory.

"Whatever it takes," McCoy said. "If it's on the ground or in the air, it may be a key block, whatever it takes to win, I'm down for it."

COMEBACK CELEBRATION: At halftime, the Bills will honor those who played in Buffalo's 41-38 overtime win over the Houston Oilers in the 1993 AFC wild-card playoff game. Known as "The Comeback," the Bills overcame a 32-point deficit in the largest comeback in NFL history.

About 25 players will be in attendance, including Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed, who scored three touchdowns.

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