The Dick Jauron tenure in Buffalo is over, and although I’m surprised at the timing of the move — in the middle of the season — we all knew that the Bills franchise was leaning this way.
Buffalo didn’t progress under Jauron, and it seems that after the hot start last season, the team has taken steps backward. Quarterback Trent Edwards has regressed, and his production has been down. The big signing of Terrell Owens turned out to be nothing more than cheap summer fanfare. The defense under Perry Fewell, along with his Tampa 2 scheme, has produced turnovers but is still soft against the run. Jauron fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert a week before the season opened, and since then, the Bills have been anemic at best on offense. The hot topic last summer was the no-huddle attack, but that faded with little results.
And the bottom line is that this team is still losing, and losing in terrible ways, like it did last Sunday in Nashville — giving up 24 fourth-quarter points to the Titans in a 41-17 loss.
Many experts thought Jauron wouldn’t even make it to the 2009 season, but owner Ralph Wilson gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him have a final chance to turn things around. But just like opening night for the Bills on the road in New England, they’ve always been one or two plays away under Jauron.
And that just won’t cut it in this league.
But I still hate seeing it happen because I thought he was great to play for, and many of his current players will tell you the same thing. I was on Dick’s first team in Buffalo in 2006, and I consider him the best head coach I played for in the NFL — because he cared about his players and coached in a way that earned him the respect of the locker room. He treated us like he would treat members of his own family, and in a league where business comes first over everything — and I mean everything — he made me and my family feel at home around that football complex.
He told us in one of his first team meetings that the goal of the franchise was to win a championship in four years — but as you can see, that goal was never going to be met. Sure, I wanted Dick to succeed, and I will always respect him as a head coach — even after he called to cut me in the ’07 offseason.
I knew it was business as usual in the NFL, just as today’s news is business as usual in the NFL. And that’s why I can sit here and tell story after story about Dick as a coach, as a man and as someone who helped me personally off the field. But when you don’t win at this level after multiple opportunities — some that were not viewed as well-deserved by outsiders and fans — all you’re shown is the door, with a brown box full of desk supplies in your arms.
The Bills have major issues as a football team that need to be corrected, and from a franchise standpoint, this was the first of those moves done in order to win. The quarterback position will be next, and others will soon follow.
I feel terrible for Dick Jauron right now — I really do. But we all saw this coming, and I’m sure Dick did as well.
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