Like it or not, Jauron’s back, so enjoy it

By Anthony Bialy  |   Tuesday, December 30, 2008  |  Comments( 94 )

Buffalo Bills
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The Buffalo Bills retaining head coach Dick Jauron might seem like the equivalent of resolving to gain weight and start smoking in 2009, but it’s best for fans to look at the bright side of an un-fresh start. The decision to keep him is now in the past, so those who follow this team are best off hoping that he can develop his positives in the future. Instead of smashing heads against brick walls, fans may as well start searching for a door.

Change wouldn’t have been good, anyway: the cynic would note that it’s not like they would have hired someone better if Jauron was deposed. Instead, owner Ralph Wilson would have sifted through the bargain bin and unearthed an obscure coordinator who should have remained earthed. Jauron’s two predecessors Gregg Williams and Mike Mularkey were examples of men who shouldn’t have been allowed to run Techmo Bowl teams, much less NFL squads. Jauron was the exception, namely a recent Buffalo coach who at least came in with some experience, and his imaginary replacement wouldn’t have inspired more hope with his background.

And even though he’s gotten three shots at success in Buffalo without even getting to .500 once, patience could pay off eventually, maybe. By comparison, look at the only candidate for the title of franchise’s best coach ever in Marv Levy: he followed winning a couple of championships with Montreal of the Maple Syrup Football League by going an unimpressive 31-42 as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Before the Bills picked him up in the midst of the 1986 season, Levy had been out of football for two years before coaching in the USFL for one; which is worse? Regardless, the point is that Levy was almost collecting Social Security by the time he led the Bills to success, meaning he didn’t quite turn into an overwhelmingly successful coach by waving a magic wand. They’re of course somewhat different men in different situations, but the point is that patience can bring dividends. Sometimes.

Backers may as well think happy thoughts and focus on the Yale man’s encouraging attributes, even if right now that feels like being pleased that you still have your health after a hurricane swallows your house. For one, Jauron has brought stability through his calm manner, as the outlook for next season would appear even worse right now if he possessed the demeanor a boring loudmouth. He also has happy players, and, while the lack of a mutiny isn’t the best case for keeping a captain, the fact remains that the squad is more likely to comply with the orders of someone they respect.

The best news is that there are at least a handful of skilled players aboard, which in turn means that tweaking the balance is the crucial task facing the Bills’ 2009 head coach. He should focus on leaning heavily on Marshawn Lynch and partly on Fred Jackson, not to mention getting Trent Edwards to compete like a calmly efficient manager every game instead of playing like a spaz about one-quarter of the time.

Members of this roster, particularly the aforementioned quarterback, can do their part by doing their coach’s bidding every single game, while his offensive coordinator must deploy the right pieces at the right time. There might not be the same amount of talent lying around that Levy had access to, but the most hopeful bet is that Jauron makes more right decisions more often while his players do their part and execute. Besides, it’s not about whether he should be allowed to keep coaching this team: it’s about that he is.
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About Anthony Bialy

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