Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pressure mounts on Jauron as Bills lose in ugly fashion to Dolphins

After three consecutive 7-9 seasons in Buffalo, it was clear that it was "put up or shut up" time for the Dick Jauron regime in 2009.

So far, it seems the "shut up" is coming sooner than anyone could have expected.

The Buffalo Bills fell to the Miami Dolphins 38-10 on Sunday afternoon, suffering the second-worst defeat of the Jauron era and being dominated in all facets of the game in the process.

Let's look at some figures:

- The Bills surrendered 250 rushing yards to the Dolphins, with plenty of them coming out of Miami's vaunted "Wildcat" formation.  It was the most yards given up on the ground by Buffalo since they gave up 289 to the eventual-champion New York Giants on December 23, 2007.  The Bills should have noted that Miami led the league in rushing  coming into the game and gameplanned against it.

-The Bills' patchwork offensive line, young and already riddled with injuries, surrendered six sacks to a defense playing without it's best pass rusher in Joey Porter.  They have now allowed 16 on the season, second-worst in the league.

-Bills' QB Trent Edwards stats in the first two weeks, a close loss at NE and a win over Tampa Bay: 36/56, 442 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT

...and in the next two games, both blowout losses: 34/61, 348 yds, 1 TD, 4 INT

Clearly, an overhaul is in order for this team.  The question now for Jauron is not "if", it's "when".

With the Bills sitting at 1-3 and last in the AFC East, Jauron is closer to the buzzsaw than he ever has been in his four-plus seasons in Buffalo.

Most thought he was close to being canned this offseason, but it took a long meeting between Jauron and owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. to decide that Wilson was willing to give the coach one more season to get things straight.  Jauron promised a higher-octane offense with the addition of Terrell Owens, the continued development of Trent Edwards in his third season, and the installation of a no-huddle offense resembling the K-Gun days of old in Buffalo.

But it was clear that Jauron saw the writing on the wall after the firing of offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, coming off of a horrific preseason for the starting offense.

Many believed that a playoff appearance, the first for the franchise in ten years, would be the only thing that could keep Jauron around.  The Bills face one of the toughest schedules in the NFL for the rest of 2009 playing in arguably the toughest division in the league, a division in which they haven't won a game since December 9, 2007.  Simply put, don't bet on a post-season appearance for the Bills after this underwhelming start.

Jauron and the Bills need to right the ship quickly, starting when the Cleveland Browns come to Orchard Park on Sunday for what amounts to be a must-win for Jauron's job.  If the Bills lose that one to a pathetic Cleveland team, there's no reason to believe he'll be around to see the end of this month.

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