Following a lackluster 2-8 finish to the 2008 NFL season, Dick Jauron's 3-6 start to 2009 was enough to turn the "hot seat" into the "ejection seat." On Tuesday, owner Ralph Wilson listened to the screaming voices of fans, sports journalists, and others nationwide and let Jauron, the 14th coach in franchise history, go his own way.
The firing should come as no shock to any parties involved or uninvolved. Jauron's seat has been hot since last season's horrendous collapse and hasn't cooled down since. Fan sites, none more appropriately titled than www.firedickjauron.com, have been calling for the action for some time.
Sunday's 41-17 loss to the also 3-6 Tennessee Titans was simply the last straw. Tied at 17 after three quarters, the 24-point fourth quarter collapse surely left a sore taste in Wilson's mouth and a queasy feeling in the stomachs of both fans and players.
Still to be named are Jauron's successor and the team's choice for an interim coach. No names have been tossed about with any true gravity simply because nobody actually expected Wilson to ever pull the trigger, but odds are that the team will keep its choice in-house. Such an action would certainly not please fans. Anybody in-house is associated with the failure that the Bills have been over the last 19 games (5-14).
A possible successor who would simultaneously quell the complaints of fans and players could be any of the UFL's top coaching names. Such candidates would include Jim Fassel, Dennis Green, Jim Haslett, and Ted Cottrell, who could bump up the team morale, at least temporarily.
What one must realize, though, is that staying in-house might be a good choice. Reaching out to Terrell Owens certainly has not shown to be a worthwhile investment thus far. The former star wideout has yet to legitimately impact the team's struggling offense.
Also to be noted are the woes of the team's defense, especially against the run. In fact, there is not one aspect of the team that cannot be drastically improved. This makes the choice of a head coach all the more difficult.
Regardless of what the executives decide on, the Bills need to pick a direction and stick with it. The new head coach will not be a fix for every hole that the team has, but he can certainly bring some new blood and life to the team, as well as some improvement to a very lackluster group of players.
It is very debatable whether or not the Bills are underachieving or just a really bad team. A new coach may not take them to the promised land, but will surely answer that question at the very least.