2009 Bills Brain Trust
After three Consecutive 7-9 seasons and a 2-8 record following a 5-1 start in 2008, it's time to produce results.
Dick Jauron and his staff got a vote of confidence from Owner Ralph Wilson Jr., by being retained despite the poor results and fan dissatisfaction. For 2009 to be successful the coaching staff must become better at communicating and game management; Buffalo often burns timeouts or loses precious seconds in key moments.
Now here is a more in depth look and Jauron and the 2009 brain trust of the Buffalo Bills.
Dick Jauron: The man with the plan
Dick Jauron is now entering his fourth season as head coach of the Bills.
Jauron, who was hired in 2006 following the abrupt resignation of Mike Mularkey, is the 14th coach in franchise history and the first one to reach a fourth season as coach since Hall-of-Famer Marv Levy.
He has been in the league since 1973 when he was drafted in the fourth round by the Detroit Lions. Later that year he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball team but chose football.
After retiring from the NFL, Jauron worked two years for Nautilus Sports Medical Industries before beginning his coaching career in 1985 as the Bills defensive assistant coach.
His head coaching career started in 1999 with the Chicago Bears where he spent five seasons. As a head coach he has only one winning season (2001), when the Bears went 13-3 and Jauron won the Associated Press Coach of The Year. Overall he has a record of 57-76.
Under Jauron the Bills have seen an improvement in discipline but not consistency. He has been able to lead them on winning streaks but has yet to put a full 16 games together.
If the Bills don't make the post-season it will likely signal the end for Jauron in Buffalo. Ownership has given him the necessary weapons; now it's up to Jauron to make the most of his final shot.
Turk Schonert: Keeping opposing Defenses on the run
In 2009, Turk Schonert will be entering his second season as offensive coordinator after taking over for Steve Fairchild, who left following the 2007 season to be head coach at Colorado State.
The offense saw improvements across the board, including scoring almost a touchdown more per game under Schonert. They ranked 25th overall in 2008 compared to 30th in 2007.
In 2008, there were too many games in which Lee Evans wasn’t a factor. With the addition of Terrell Owens, Schonert has more flexibility with his play calling. However, despite having new receiving options, the play calling must remain focused on running the ball.
In 2009, defenses will have to respect the passing game, which should open up holes for Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. If the Bills want to be playing in January they will have to run their way there.
Perry Fewell: The Pressure is on
Perry Fewell has been the Bills defensive coordinator since 2006.
In 2008, the defense ranked 14th which was a huge improvement from 2007 when they were ranked 31st. This was in part to the teams trade for defensive tackle, Marcus Stroud, who returned to form. The Bills gave up 121.6 rushing yards per game in 2008 three less than in 2007.
The Bills run a 4-3 scheme focused on zone coverage, cover 2 schemes, and zone blitzes. The lack of aggression could be a reason the team struggles to get pressure on the quarterback. In 2008, Aaron Schobel missed much of the season with a foot injury and the teams pass rush suffered.
In the Bills 4-0 start they had ten sacks, but following Schobels injury the team went 1-3 and in those losses only sacked the quarterback once.
In 2009, pressure will be the key. The team drafted Aaron Maybin whose primary job will be to get to the quarterback.
Bobby April: How Special of a Team will Buffalo be
Despite the teams struggles, special teams continue to be a strong point for Buffalo being lead by Coach Bobby April.
Under his guidance, the Bills special teams have been ranked number one three of the past five years,(2004,2005,2008). He won special team's coach of the year in 2008.
Special teams for Buffalo often shifted the field position battle leading the league in punt returns and kickoff starting points; the only categories they led.
In 2009, the Bills will look for more big-time plays from special team's return men, Roscoe Parrish and Leodis McKelvin.
April has been special teams coach since 2004.
He is also Assistant Head Coach.
Russ Brandon is Buffalo Chief Operating Officer.
Brandon graduated from St John Fisher in 1989. His front office career began in Triple-A baseball with the Rochester Red Wings. He got started with Buffalo in November of 1997 when he became Executive Director of Business Development and Marketing. Thirteen months later he was promoted to Vice President.
He was instrumental in the Bills moving their training camp to St. John Fisher in 1999.
In January of 2007, Brandon got promoted to his current position and runs both the business and the football operations.
He played a large role in signing Terrell Owens.
Ralph Wilson Jr: Owner
Ralph Wilson Jr. has done just about all you can with the Bills except win a Super Bowl.
The Bills were one of the original American Football League teams. Wilson founded them in September of 1959 after being turned down by Miami to start a team there. As of October 28th, they were officially the seventh AFL franchise.
The Bills found immediate success being the only AFL team to make the postseason four consecutive years, 1963-1966. They won the championship in 1964 and 65.
From 1990-93 the Bills were a symbol of greatness making four consecutive Super Bowl. As many know, they went 0-4.
Wilson, at age 90, may have lost touch with his team as they have struggled for years. Since the departures of Jim Kelly and Marv Levy, the team has never been the same. Wilson is hoping he has a franchise quarterback in Trent Edwards.
In the struggling economy, sport is Buffalo's lifeline. Wilson has been highly criticized after striking a deal to play 8 games in Toronto. With speculation rising that he wants to move the team, fan support hasn't wavered.
Buffalo without the Bills and Vice Versa just wouldn't be right.