Nix, who isn’t shy with a straight answer, made another thing clear: Coach Chan Gailey isn’t getting any of the blame for the team’s inconsistent play and his job is not in jeopardy.
“I hope I can put that to rest,” Nix said of Gailey, who is in his third season with the Bills. “The age-old thing — and they’ve done it around here for years — is to start over about every three years. What that does is make damn sure you don’t make it. You change every three years and you never quite get there. That’s my take.”
INJURY REPORT 'HAS NO VALUE'
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn’t afraid of letting loose with a rant on the sidelines or in front of the media, but he sounded like a man ready to make a point on Friday.
When asked whether he was surprised that this week’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, had 19 players listed on their injury report, Harbaugh went off.
Still steaming from the league-issued $20,000 fine for not putting Ed Reed on the weekly injury report, Harbaugh essentially called the NFL’s policy a joke.
“It doesn’t mean anything, it has no value,” Harbaugh told reporters in Baltimore before saying his team will start listing a player with a “hangnail” in the future.
It’s already started, with 16 players listed on the report this week, more than double the norm for the Ravens. The trouble with Reed came when he told reporters that he had been playing with a torn labrum, though he hadn’t missed any games or even practices. But because he wasn’t listed, the league ruled the Ravens had violated the injury policy.
Harbaugh said that in the future he plans to model New England coach Bill Belichick who has been making a mockery of the Patriots’ injury report for years now.
“Bill figured it out way before the rest of us did,” Harbaugh said. “His injury report is that long, it’s been that way for years. We tried to do it the other way and be straightforward with our injury report and we got fined for it. So, we’re moving on.”
RYAN IS NO FENCE-SITTER
Rarely a week goes by when we don’t get a headline-worthy quote or three from New York Jets coach Rex Ryan.
But with this being the Jets’ bye week, his brother, Rob Ryan, is providing the material. The defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Rob says his 3-4 team is up for the challenge of taking on the NFL’s only remaining undefeated squad, the 7-0 Atlanta Falcons, on Sunday night.
“We need to win now,” Ryan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That’s what we’re going to do. I know the record is not what we want it to be, but the ball is bouncing strange ways.
“When that thing starts evening out, we’re going to be great, and we’re going to keep playing. We’ve got to win this week, and we know it, and we’re going to.
“I know we’re going to be special. I think we’re going to be special this week.”
SIX LEGS ARE BETTER ...
How often can the Pittsburgh Steelers keep finding a new set of legs to lug the football and take some of the pressure off of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger?
We’ll get another taste on Sunday when the Steelers hit the road to face the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants. With Jonathan Dwyer doubtful after suffering a quad injury last week, Isaac Redman is expected to get the bulk of the backfield work versus the G-men.
“The good thing is that we’ve got three good running backs, so when somebody goes down, we always have somebody else ready to go,” Redman said in Pittsburgh. “It’s a shame that we all can’t get healthy at the same time, but that’s what makes it crucial that we have so much depth.”
Dwyer finished off back-to-back 100-yard games last week when he took over the top spot from Rashard Mendenhall who is expected to remain out with an Achilles injury.
NFC THE BETTER HALF
Much has been made recently of the emergence of the NFC as the stronger of the two conferences. Four of the past five Super Bowls have gone to NFC teams, including each of the past three, and this season the conference has a decided edge in interconference play.
Heading into the weekend, the NFC squads have a 20-12 record, outscoring their opponents 868-677.
“You’ve just seen a switch in consistent play from the NFC, especially on defence,” NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest said. “Being a defensive guy, it was always known for the AFC to be pretty physical, and now we’re seeing the NFC as a whole running the ball well and playing great defence.”
Another factor, surely, is the running game. The top three rushing leaders all come from the NFC: Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (775 yards), Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch (757) and Washington rookie Alfred Morris (717).