ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills coach Dick Jauron anticipates he'll be back next season despite receiving no public assurances from team management or owner Ralph Wilson -- and overseeing a meltdown that reached a low after Buffalo's latest loss.
In providing the most definitive answer to date about his status beyond this season, Jauron on Monday said he expects to be back because the Bills have given him no indication that he won't return for another year. That's a switch after the coach previously said he feels as if he's always coaching for his job.
What's unclear is whether Jauron is under contract. Citing team policy, Jauron, refused to say whether he's received an extension, which would be necessary considering he's completing the final season of a three-year deal.
The Bills aren't saying anything regarding Jauron.
Chief operating officer Russ Brandon has declined to discuss the coach's status, and issued a terse "no comment" on the subject immediately after Buffalo bungled a 31-27 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.
Owner Ralph Wilson has yet to provide Jauron a vote of confidence over the past few months. And the owner was in no mood to do so after the Bills gift-wrapped New York's victory in which Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis recovered quarterback J.P. Losman's fumble and returned it 11 yards for a decisive touchdown with 1:56 left.
When asked about Jauron's status following the game, Wilson responded by saying, "Did you see that fumble? It was terrible wasn't it?"
Jauron has become the target of a growing amount of criticism for a slide in which the team will miss the playoffs for a ninth straight year. The Bills (6-8), who play at Denver on Sunday, have lost seven of their past eight in a spiral that reached a new low against the Jets and led many to second-guess Jauron's play-calling decisions.
At issue is why he elected to have Losman, a backup quarterback with a reputation for holding the ball too long, roll out for a pass on 2nd-and-5 with 2:06 left rather than attempt to run the ball -- especially after running back Marshawn Lynch had 17 yards on four consecutive carries to start the possession.
Jauron accepted the blame for the play, but noted the Bills weren't going to run off much time because the clock was approaching the two-minute warning, which would give the Jets an automatic timeout.
"Any time it doesn't work out, you have second thoughts, so yeah, I definitely have second thoughts," Jauron said. "It was my call, the outcome of it shows that it was not the right call at the right time."
Losman also deserves blame for failing to secure the ball or throw it away, especially after his intended receiver, fullback Corey McIntyre, was knocked to the ground at the line of scrimmage.
Jauron is coming off consecutive 7-9 seasons. He is the team's fourth coach since Pro Football Hall of Famer Marv Levy retired after 1997. The Bills entire defensive coaching staff is signed through the end of next season.
Jauron and Losman were both heavily criticized in the media following the loss to the Jets.
Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell accepted the criticism directed at the team.
"People are going to say what they want to say, and we deserve it," Mitchell said. "We're not winning. So say what you to say until we prove you different."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press