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Bills players believe AFC East still for the taking

HERTFORDSHIRE, England -- The latest news on Percy Harvin has contributed to a developing narrative surrounding the 2015 Buffalo Bills. It appears another propped up Rex Ryan team is imploding from the inside out, and that this unit is nothing more than a warmed-over version of Ryan's 2011 Jets -- rich in name recognition, average at best in the standings.

Maybe this is true. Maybe Ryan's defense has run its course in the NFL even though it's versatile and ever-expanding and different from week to week. There really isn't one Rex Ryan defense, but teams running versions of the scheme -- like the Chiefs and Browns -- are also struggling mightily.

Maybe, though, the Bills aren't dead yet and maybe Ryan's past just lends him no equity with the public.

Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham was asked about all of this following a team practice and, for at least one moment, he represented a large portion of the locker room and coaching staff: People who are frustrated but optimistic. People who are still buying in. People who thought that Ryan was right to drop Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes into coverage a handful of times against one of the league's best offensive lines in order to confuse Andy Dalton and not spin his pass rushers' wheels aimlessly (Per Pro Football Focus, the Bills' trio dropped back a combined 13 times).

"I bet it's tough for him, (blitzing) is what he's known to do from his guru years," Bradham told Around The NFL. "It's one of those things, man. Everyone expects you to do one thing so you switch it up sometimes. I guess you can say it kind of backfired on him. But I honestly felt like the scheme was good that week. I felt like we left a couple plays out there and they just made plays and we didn't."

Bradham is also holding onto that perspective when it comes to the division. The Bills are currently a .500 team buried in third place behind the 4-1 Jets and the 6-0 Patriots. From his vantage point -- one that is certainly stoked by Ryan, who views himself as the perennial underdog -- no one thinks the Bills can make up ground in the division, especially not without Harvin, Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor and Karlos Williams.

"We're going to win," Bradham said, adding that Ryan hasn't changed much in meetings or in person. "I feel like we're going to win games. We got 10 games left, so we'll be fine, I think."

He added: "I feel like people are panicking, like we should have started out 6-0. Unfortunately we didn't, but we just have to get on a run. I think it's hard for the fans (to understand that we're not out of the division). But the players ... we still play the Jets twice. We play the Dolphins again, and we have the Patriots one more time. And that's just our division. It's obviously wide open and if you understand football, you should know."

Maybe it's not perfect. Maybe the Bills are a .500 team this year and maybe it will motivate Ryan to re-think some of what he's done.

But maybe, like Bradham said, there are some good people in place -- the right people in many cases -- and the team just happened to start 3-3. Maybe it's not the Same Old Rex yet.

Wake up and watch with the world. The NFL is live on Yahoo. For the first time ever, the NFL is streaming a live game on Yahoo. Bills vs. Jaguars live from London, Sunday, October 25th, at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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