Bills coach Jauron feeling pressure as injuries, losses mount

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- If it's not ineptitude, it's injuries. The Buffalo Bills can't get a break in a season that's quickly going south and has left coach Dick Jauron again fending off critics.

Pat Kirwan live chat

NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan was asked about the 1-4 Bills during his weekly live chat.

"Things are looking bleak in Buffalo. You have issues protecting your QB, you have so many injuries on defense -- you've now given up 116 points -- and I would be surprised if you win more than five games.

"If the job comes open, I don't think you will attract a premier coach sitting on the sideline this year." Transcript ...

Before answering another round of questions about his job security Monday, one day after a dreadful 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Jauron announced that the Bills had lost linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs to season-ending knee injuries.

Mitchell, who hurt his right knee, and Buggs, who injured his left, will require surgery after being hurt against the Browns.

Their departures leave an already banged-up defense increasingly thin at linebacker. Mitchell had just been shifted from the weak-side spot to the middle to replace Buggs, who had struggled while filling in for Paul Posluszny. And Posluszny is still a few weeks away from returning after breaking his left arm during Buffalo's season-opening loss at New England.

With fourth-year pro Keith Ellison now the team's only experienced linebacker, Buffalo (1-4) is forced to go searching for free-agent replacements as it prepares to visit the New York Jets this weekend.

It didn't take long for the topic of discussion to return to Jauron's status after the Bills dropped their second consecutive game against a winless team, one week after a 38-10 loss at Miami. After registering three consecutive 7-9 finishes under Jauron, the Bills already are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for a 10th season in a row.

Bills fans are growing frustrated. Some wore bags on their heads Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and one group stood up in a row to display matching white T-shirts featuring letters that spelled: "FIRE DICK NOW!"

Jauron declined to discuss his status, but he acknowledged the criticism.

"Yeah, I understand that criticism," Jauron said. "That's the job. I'm in that position, and I clearly haven't been able to reach (the players) to help them particularly in these last three games to get them over the hump to get us where we win."

Bills owner Ralph Wilson, attending a fan luncheon Monday, told The Buffalo News that he's not going to make any decisions during the "middle of the season right now."

"Yesterday was so bad that it's hard to make a decision right now," Wilson was quoted as saying. He then assessed the team's performance against the Browns by saying: "There's not much I can say about yesterday except it was awful."

Buffalo's problems start on offense, an anemic attack undone by quarterback Trent Edwards' tentative play in front of an inexperienced line that has allowed 18 sacks -- the second-most in the NFL this season -- and is having trouble with the snap count.

Against the Browns, the Bills failed to score a touchdown for the second time in their last three games. They committed nine false-start penalties. And they couldn't out-duel a Cleveland popgun attack that mustered just 193 yards in total offense and completed two passes.

"Today's one of those where you're frustrated," Edwards said. "Honestly, it's little things. The good teams don't make those little mistakes, and we're making the little mistakes which seems like way too often. And that's what's frustrating."

Edwards hasn't been able to open up a passing attack that features deep threats Terrell Owens and Lee Evans. The two receivers have 12 catches and one touchdown each while combining for 361 yards -- about 90 yards per game.

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The Bills join the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs as the three NFL teams who have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season. And Jauron's decision to fire offensive coordinator Turk Schonert 10 days before the start of the season has yet to pay off.

Jauron isn't prepared to scrap the Bills' no-huddle attack while noting that there's no excuse he can make for the false-start penalties.

"I've got to do a better job of giving them a chance, finding different ways. And I haven't found those ways," Jauron said. "Offensively, we just haven't gotten it done. We'll keep working at it. I can certainly tell you that."

Notes: The Browns' 22 passing yards were the sixth-fewest against the Bills in team history. The Browns' two completions tied for the fewest by a Bills opponent. ... Bills S Donte Whitner, who had surgery two weeks ago to repair ligaments in his right thumb, is hopeful he'll play this weekend. ... Bills RT Jonathan Scott is day to day after twisting his ankle Sunday.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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