ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Resigned to missing the playoffs for his ninth straight year in Buffalo, defensive end Aaron Schobel questioned the Bills lack of direction with seven games remaining in their season.
"It's embarrassing," the longest-tenured player on the Bills roster said Monday, a day after a 41-17 loss at Tennessee dropped Buffalo's record to 3-6. "I mean, we're technically, mathematically still in it, I guess, but it's like what ... are we doing here?"
Speaking within earshot of several Bills officials near the entrance of the locker room, Schobel expressed his frustration, but stopped short in explaining what he thinks the franchise's problems are by saying: "That's about all I can say without saying what I want to say."
Thing is, he's not the only one asking questions regarding a team that's gone 5-14 in its past 19 games, features an inept offense that's failed to generate 300 yards eight times this season, and is in jeopardy of celebrating its 50th anniversary by missing the playoffs for a 10th straight year.
Receiver Terrell Owens is upset following the latest loss during which he had an animated exchange with several coaches on the sideline.
Quarterback Trent Edwards' job as starter is uncertain for Buffalo's game at Jacksonville (5-4) on Sunday.
Edwards returned against the Titans. It was his first game back after missing two starts due to a concussion. He was yanked with three minutes left, following a series in which he threw two consecutive errant passes intended for Owens, and then had his next attempt intercepted by Vincent Fuller and returned for a touchdown.
And coach Dick Jauron is squarely back on the hot seat for failing to build a contender after three straight 7-9 seasons.
"It hasn't gone the way any of us would've liked it to have gone at this point," Jauron said. "But we'll just keep working and try to get the thing righted."
Jauron refused to say whether he'll start Edwards this weekend, or return to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went 1-1 in two starts, and also rallied the Bills to a 16-13 overtime win over the Jets on Oct. 18 after Edwards was hurt.
Edwards has six touchdowns passing and seven interceptions this season, and hasn't had a 200-yard outing in his past four starts, not including the Jets.
What didn't seem to bug Jauron was Owens' outburst early in the second quarter, when the receiver said he questioned Edwards' read of the Titans' defense prior to a snap on third-and-24. Owens was penalized on the play for illegal formation.
Jauron noted that there are numerous shouting matches on the sideline during every game, and suggested what happened was being "blown out of proportion" only because T.O. was involved.
"He doesn't become a distraction," Jauron said. "No, I wouldn't say I wish he hadn't done it."
Owens, who had a season-best 85 yards receiving, didn't speak to reporters on Monday, but explained following the game that he was attempting to get the offense on the same page. Receiver Josh Reed, who was in on the discussion, agreed with Owens' explanation of what happened.
"We were just telling them what we saw," Reed said on Monday.
Owens also summed up the loss by noting: "What's new? That is how it has been the last seven or eight weeks: We lost games in the third or fourth quarter."
Outscored 101-40 in the fourth quarter this season, the Bills have fallen into a familiar pattern of losing in which their defense wears down because their offense can't generate a threat. Buffalo has either led, been tied or been within one score of the lead entering the fourth quarter in all of its games except for a 38-10 loss at Miami on Oct. 4.
"Any time you're not winning, it's going to be frustrating," defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said. "You can find a pattern, you can find excuses and you could find a million other things, but the only thing that's going to cure it is to get a win."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press