Well, today is finally the day. The Dick Jauron era in Buffalo has finally come to an end. Whether you think it came too late (most people) or too early (mid-season firings rarely work out that well), there is no question that everyone thinks Jauron needed to be gone.
The question now is how do the Bills begin to pick up the pieces? There are huge holes that need to be filled both on the field and off the field. Who will the quarterback be next season? How does the offensive line get fixed? How does the run defense get fixed?
Who will be on the coaching staff next season and who will be in the front office?
My personal choice for head coach and quasi general manager is former Denver Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan. He worked miracles with no-name running backs for years in Denver. Imagine what he could do with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson.
On the defensive side of the ball, if Shanahan is OK with it, I'd like to see either Perry Fewell stay on as defensive coordinator or current defensive line coach and former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders promoted. He's been a big part of the Bills' defensive line, generating pressure for once. I'd like to see what they could do with a bit more free reign.
What this move does NOT change is the fact that the Bills need to find a quarterback. If Shanahan is hired, I could see him going with an accurate veteran quarterback to help control the clock. If Chad Pennington recovers well from his shoulder injury, I would definitely not be adverse to him being brought in to run the offense and have a rookie QB learn from him.
Also top on my priority list are tackles, both offensive and defensive. I'll actually be highlighting the defensive tackle position in an article on my new blog, Man Meets Football. Suffice it to say, the Bills need a massive tackle that demands double teams a la Pat Williams or Vince Wilfork.
Obviously the Bills need to get better at protecting the quarterback and the biggest weak spot this season has been the tackle position. That really needs to be rectified, both at the starting position and in terms of depth.
Regarding current players, there's a good chunk of players who will still be with the team next year. However, in what capacity is still to be determined. Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, are still going to be with the team next year, barring releases. However, I could see that happening if another veteran is brought in and a player drafted.
Right now, I highly doubt much effort will be made by any coaching staff to re-sign Terrell Owens unless a miracle occurs.
It's also possible that with defensive coordinator Perry Fewell now the interim head coach, a change in the offensive play-calling occurs. Jauron was a conservative head coach in terms of the offense. It will be interesting to see if Fewell wants to continue that trend or just get an idea from offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in terms of what he thinks the offense is best suited to do.
Right now, I want to see a lot of younger players getting significant playing time to see if they've got anything. It will be an interesting rest of the season and offseason, that's for sure.
Jeremy Pike is currently the only writer at the blog Man Meets Football, found at http://jeremynpike.com/manmeetsfootball.