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Is Jauron on the Hot Seat This Season in Buffalo?

Jauron and Losman

As the Bills enter the 2008 season expectations are higher than they have been in quite some time. With an improved defense, always solid special teams, and an offense that should improve the playoffs are seen as a very distinct possibility. To stoke the flames of optimism even further Bills fans see a schedule that is the easiest the team has played since Dick Jauron joined the team.

With all of these things in mind you could say there will be a little more heat in the kitchen for Dick Jauron this season. In Jauron’s first year he was a calming influence after an era of chaos in Bills football. This is a man who comes out of the tunnel looking like he just completed a Yoga session in his office with one of those noise machines in the background playing on the “mountain stream” setting. He sometimes looks like he might take a nap at halftime. Part of the calm feelings around the Ralph were also created by the return of Marv Levy. The tumultuous days of Tom Donahoe’s leadership were in the rear view mirror and there was a feeling of nostalgia as everyone recalled the good old days. The Bills made a nice run towards the playoffs in ’06 only to fall short with a record of 7-9, but the future was still looking bright going into 2007.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know what could have been in ’07 as injuries ravaged the team right from the start. Jauron was praised nationally for getting the team to 7-9 when taking into account all of the injuries that the team had to cope with. The general consensus was that if nothing else he kept the team playing hard from start to finish. This was a team that easily could have folded but they showed great effort until the end. But looking back at their 7-9 record you could also look back at some questionable coaching decisions that may have cost the team a victory or two.

I’m sure one sticks out in particular to Bills fans that occurred on Monday Night Football against Dallas. In the fourth quarter it looked as if the Bills were going to sneak away with an unbelievable victory against a superior team. They just had to protect a lead, and with minimal time left the Bills had the ball deep in Dallas territory. A field goal makes the lead almost insurmountable with the time remaining. But for some inexplicable reason they still had a rookie QB in Edwards dropping back to pass, the ball got picked off for a TD, Dallas was back in it, and the rest is history with the Bill losing in overtime. It’s hard to say how that loss affected the psyche of the team but it certainly couldn’t have helped. It’s actually a testament to Jauron’s leadership and popularity with his players that they did rebound and play as hard as they did throughout the rest of the season because in some situations the players would have quit on their coach after that game.

Nobody questions Dick Jauron’s ability to lead. To the man his players seem to love him, as he is the ultimate player’s coach. They say he is calm but stern when necessary, providing the steady and calming leadership that a young team needs. But the fact is there are obvious examples where his game management can be questioned, and when all is said and done being a positive influence gets negated if the X’s and O’s of the game are lacking. It’s part of the game for the decisions of the head coach to be questioned by snack consuming couch potatoes like yours truly, but ultimately if the mistakes are repeated and team improvement is not reflected in the win column then a coach is on borrowed time.

2008 is a big year for both The Bills and Jauron. The fans have been able to respect the effort and determination displayed by this team over the past two years and at this time Jauron is still respected and well liked. The media also seems to like him, which certainly does not hurt his cause. Having said that the playoff drought has lasted way too long, and there can be no more excuses of young players learning the game. After all the NFL is more than ever a young man’s game. The time for results is now for Dick Jauron and The Buffalo Bills.

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