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Bills' Greer makes a leap of faith Corner welcomes tall task vs. Moss

Cornerback Jabari Greer sat in front of his locker inside Gillette Stadium answering question after question following the Buffalo Bills' 38-7 loss to the New England Patriots in September.

Most of the inquiries were about Patriots receiver Randy Moss, who had five catches for 115 yards and beat Greer for two touchdowns.

Greer tried to inject some humor into the conversation by saying he had "been Mossed," an old high school term his buddies used to describe someone who gets burned deep by an opposing receiver. Greer took the blame for those touchdowns, but vowed to make the play when those opportunities arrived again.

"Don't give up on me," he said before leaving the locker room. "I'll redeem myself."

The chance for redemption has arrived. Greer and the Bills' secondary get another shot at Moss and the Patriots' potent passing game in Sunday night's nationally televised game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Many a cornerback has been overmatched this season against Moss, who leads the NFL with 924 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. But Greer is not shrinking from the tall task at hand.

"I never want to look at myself as being mismatched," he said. "I always want to have the confidence and know that I have the abilities to make that play. No matter what happened last time, we have a new slate, a new opportunity. You just have to grab it and become the player you know that you can become."

Greer estimates he covered Moss 60 to 75 percent of the time in the last meeting.

"I got a good dosage of him. . . . a good dosage," Greer said with emphasis.

However, no one can be overly critical of the job he did that day. Greer had great coverage on Moss' first touchdown, but Moss used his 6-foot-4 frame as a shield on a 3-yard slant route. Greer was all over Moss again as they ran stride for stride down the sideline. But a perfect throw by Tom Brady and a great one-handed catch by Moss resulted in a 45-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Greer took no consolation in how well he covered Moss because of the end result.

"I recall that it was a very negative feeling in my stomach and in my soul. It wasn't fun," Greer said. "The biggest thing is just to finish because the person that finishes is the person that gets the reward. He finished and he was on SportsCenter, on USA Today and I was the guy that almost made it. You never want to be that guy. You always want to finish. You always want to believe in yourself and have the confidence that you can make those plays."

Greer has come through on his promise to bounce back from that game by playing the best football of his four-year career.

One week after the Bills lost to the Patriots, Greer made a pivotal interception, his first in the NFL, to set up a touchdown as the Bills beat the New York Jets for their first win. The following week, he added another interception and broke up a key two-point conversion pass to Dallas receiver Terrell Owens late in the fourth quarter of a Monday night loss to the Cowboys.

In the victory over Miami last Sunday, he knocked down a fourth-down pass to finish the Dolphins.

Sunday will be Greer's sixth consecutive start at left cornerback. He replaced Terrence McGee on the right side against New England. If Greer's steady play continues, his starting role might become permanent.

"I think the light just came on for him and he says, 'Hey I can do this,' " defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "He faced the best and he was able to hang for a little bit."

Greer attributes his improvement to more playing time.

"I think with any player you get more experience," he said. "You get more exposure out there and you get a feel for the game. As a young and inexperienced player you make young and inexperienced plays. As the season has progressed, I've learned. I've tried to make myself a better player."

Actually, the Bills' entire secondary has improved. Though ranked just 26th in the NFL against the pass, the Bills' defense has gotten more creative and aggressive, which has led to big plays.

The Bills' 12 interceptions are tied with the Patriots for the fourth most in the league.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised the Bills' secondary as a whole and Greer and McGee in particular during a conference call with Buffalo media this week.

"Greer and McGee are two of the better corners that we've seen," Belichick said. "Neither one of them have given up many [big plays]. There's not that many big plays on that defense, period."

The Bills' secondary has shut down the likes of Owens, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. But the Patriots have a wider array of receiving weapons -- which includes Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, tight end Benjamin Watson and running back Kevin Faulk -- than anyone Buffalo has faced.

Greer insists the Bills are up to the challenge. He is certainly motivated to avoid reliving the nightmare of two months ago.

"No matter the game or who you're going against, it's always an opportunity to make a play," he said. "You just have to be confident when the opportunity comes and seize it."


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