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Antowain Smith says he's not short on confidence, he's just short on carries.

The Bills say they agree, and they aim to remedy the situation this week.

"We've got to establish the running game," coach Wade Phillips said. "We've still got to give him (Smith) the ball 20 times a game. You can't judge him on five or six carries. . . . He has gained almost 2,000 yards in two years. There's no reason to think he can't do it."

The problem for the Bills is Smith and his blockers have yet to "do it" this season. Smith's six-carries-for-7-yards performance in Indianapolis Sunday came on the heels of an unimpressive preseason by both him and the running game.

The Bills, of course, didn't set out to have a miserable rushing day in their season-opening loss to the Colts. It just worked out that way. But they know they can't let it happen if they want to have any prayer of beating the Jets.

"Hopefully, we realize we can't win unless we try to establish some kind of running game," Smith said.

Smith says the team's slow rushing start hasn't shaken his belief in himself.

"I'm not going to doubt myself," he said. "I had three carries in the first half and three carries in the second half. I don't think that's enough for anyone to go out and show what they're capable of doing."

And he admits he was mad about being left out of the action in the opener.

"Of course, I'm always going to be mad about it," he said. "I want to be out there competing. But it's a coaches' decision. I'm not going to question the play-calling.

"We went into the game with the Colts with a game plan we thought was best to come out with a victory," Smith said. "But it didn't work out. Of course, I'd like more opportunities."

Smith says he and his teammates must have confidence in each other and determination to get the ground game going.

"We've got to put it together," he said. "We've got to believe in each other. . . . I've gotta believe in my offensive linemen and believe that they're going to come off and get their blocks. I can't be hesitant. I need to make a decision and make up my mind and go with it and hit the hole. I've noticed faults I've had on film, and those are things I'm out to correct."

Against a team as good as the Jets, the Bills can't afford to be one-dimensional.

The Jets' defense ranked second in the NFL in points allowed last year and seventh in yards allowed. It was 14th in rushing yards allowed.

"We've got to get that element of our offense going to be able to run naked bootlegs, play-action passes and all that," said quarterback Doug Flutie. "There's a whole aspect of our offense that depends on us being able to run the ball."

Phillips said the Bills are going to stick with just three running backs on the roster for this week in the wake of the injury to Thurman Thomas. He said Jonathon Linton can back up at fullback and running back.

Phillips didn't rule out adding a running back in the coming weeks.

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