Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
But I can't let this from Peter King's MMQB go without comment:
Just like Mike Lombardi last week - if the best that can be said for a coach is that the "team plays for him", well that's setting a pretty low bar, isn't it? Shouldn't fans expect that a coach commands enough respect to get his players to play hard? That's what they're being paid for, right? Shouldn't fans also expect aggressive, yet reasonable, playcalling? So, when you have a 3rd and 2 late in the game, don't call an end around to T.O. - call a screen to Evans or a quick crossing pass play to T.O. The ensuing fumbled punt return bailed Jauron out of that one.
Coach of the Week
Dick Jauron, head coach, Buffalo
Meaningless games beckoned earlier this month, with sprouting billboards calling for Jauron's job as the Bills stared at a two-game trip to the Jets and Panthers. During the visit to the Jets, a quarterback from Harvard, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was asked to save a season, and the Bills won in overtime. On Sunday they got past a bad Carolina team in Charlotte. This won't get the billboards overtaken, but the past eight days showed this team still plays for Jauron.
O.k., I lied - I did have a comment to make on the playcalling.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Another wrinkle in the "we need CowherHolmgrenGruden" wail of disappointed Bills fans is competition for top notch coaches with other franchises. I've already talked about why Cowher specifically probably would take 2 or 3 different jobs before he would consider the Bills, but the larger point is that there are likely to be A LOT of opportunities out there next year better set up than the Bills.
Adam Schefter in Steinberg's piece puts it better than I can:
"Well, a lot of people say, 'Oh, Redskins, Dan Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, undesirable' and I would take the flip side of that," Schefter said. "I would tell you that we are headed toward an uncapped year. What's MORE desirable than the Redskins situation, where Dan Snyder is going to spend whatever it takes in a market where there are no limitations on what one owner can spend?"Good point Adam. Bills got T.O. for (relatively) short money and unloaded their other big free agent prize (Peters) after one year. Terrence McGee is the only other Bill besides Evans and Peters to make more than $2 million last year (!).
Brings up 2 points: (1) guys like Snyder and Jones (hell, even Al Davis) are more likely to spend big on players (Oakland and Dallas were 1-2 in NFL payrolls last year) and (2) they're also the guys likely to make big lavish coaching hires next year.
Who was the last big name coach the Bills hired? Keep thinking. You won't think of one.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I hate to pick on Easterbook here since he has been on Jauron's case for as long as I have (see here, here, here and here), but a couple of points on the above:
Stats of the Week No. 4: In the past two games, the Buffalo defense has allowed a total of 118 passing yards while making 7 interceptions.
- 6 of those7 INTs came against the Jets - 5 provided by their rookie QB who has never played a game below 50 degrees and 1 on a botched FG attempt
- Last week the Bills played Derek Anderson and the freaking Browns. Want to know what Anderson did against the Steelers Sunday? 9-24, 123 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 51.1 Rating
Some people think that outcomes are all that matter. These are the people who bet on hunches, who think the hit and run and sacrifice bunt make a lot of strategic sense, and, unfortunately, the same people who rush up the middle for no gain to set up a potential game winning 46 yard field goal. On the road. In swirling winds.
Decision Theory holds that making optimal decisions in the long run will have better outcomes than playing hunches or "going against the grain". Poker players know this. Any person whose job depends on strategy and different expected outcomes from decisions should know this. Dick Jauron clearly doesn't.
Just to recap the game situation - Bills have the ball at the Jets 49 with 2 time outs and almost 4 minutes to play. Backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been less than stellar, but has been successful with short passes and screens to the flat. Playcalling from that point:
- Jackson no gain
- Fitzpatrick to Evans for 12 yards
- Jackson, 2 runs for 9 yards to the Jets 29.
- Timeout Bills (with 1:18 left)
Instead, Fitzpatrick runs for a first down on a broken play, Jauron sends Jackson into the pile (for a loss of 2) and lets the clock simply run down to 4 seconds, settling for a 46 yarder in the wind.
Lindell was 10/15 last year from 40-49 yards. He is now 3/5 this year from that distance. So Jauron was settling for (at best) a 60-67% chance of success, sacrificing a chance to gain additional yardage and get into a more comfortable spot for Lindell (11/11 from 30-39 yards last year). And why? Concerned about a turnover? Doesn't that show lack of confidence in your highly-paid all-pro offensive players? A bad decision in this case, clearly a decision with a lower expected value, ultimately resulted in a success (the Bills eventually won in overtime), but over time, these conservative decisions are what, year after year, cost the Bills close games (stretching all the way back to the Dallas MNF game 2 years ago).
Unfortunately, the football press (Lombardi) lauded Jauron after the game for his "professionalism" and getting his guys to play hard. I understand there is a contrast between the effort level in Washington and the effort level in Buffalo, but that's the definition of damning with faint praise, and it's maddening that Jauron has this rep of getting his guys to play hard which seems to shield him (in the national media at least) against criticism of his actual, you know, job performance.
Bottom line: if the Bills can't beat the Jets after forcing 6 turnovers, that's a monumental failure - a 3 point OT win is not something to assign credit to the coach for.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Goose's Roost - mostly Sabres talk, but some biting stuff on Dick as well
Bfloblog - Indymedia source for all sports things Buffalo
Buffalo Rumblings - Horrible layout, but very intricate Bills personnel bits.
Well.. that's it for tonight. Until later, I leave you with this (it's been floating around teh interwebs lately):
Thursday, October 15, 2009
As a reminder - I am on record. Dick's expiration date (he kind of looks like sour milk personified, doesn't he?) is 11/2.
Setting aside the fact that Jauron is under contract through 2011 and the fact that Cowher seems to be enjoying himself in retirement, why would Cowher ditch his cushy studio job in the middle of the season for the frigid sidelines of Orchard Park (and Toronto)? Especially when the following other jobs are likely his for the taking in 2010:
- Dallas - whoo boy, you just know crazy-as-a-shithouse-rat Jerry Jones wants to dump Wade (last successful Bills coach) Phillips. Cowher would be the perfect fit for a team that needs a little toughening up and a little stronger leadership. And there are great skill positions in place on offense and defense (Romo, Barber/Jones/Choice, Williams, Ware). Will depend on whether Dallas gets a WC spot or not. 9-7 or worse and Wade is toast.
- San Diego - it's year 3 of the Norv Turner experience. With Denver running away with the West, San Diego will be left to compete with the likes of Baltimore, Miami/Jets/Patriots for a WC spot. If they don't get it (even if they go 10-6), I can see a splashy move (it's not like Randy Smith is afraid of firing a successful coach - he Turk'd Schottenheimer pretty quickly). Then ask yourself - who would you rather have - Rivers/LDT/Gates/V-Jack, or Edwards/Lynch/Owens/Evans? Thought so.
- Tennessee/Carolina/Washington/Jacksonville - These are all relatively comparable to the Bills given their personnel (and in DC's case, ownership) situations; still, Cowher may prefer them for one reason (geography in the case of Carolina or Tennessee) or exposure (in the case of Washington).
Sorry, Bills fans, we're going to be stuck with this guy for a little while yet:And hopefully, we won't end up with this guy next year:
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This is the thing - he was a bad hire from the get go. He parlayed one good season* into some idea that he actually knew what he was doing. Peter Principle, people.
*(that was seriously lucky and fluky by the way - nobody seems to remember all of those overtime wins and Mike Brown TAINTs in that magical season. Take away that magical 13-3 and Jauron was 22-42, an approximately .350 winning percentage)
Now added to that are poor personnel decisions (signing that fat stiff Peters in the first place instead of developing someone who could actually contribute this year; sticking with Edwards, signing TO instead of beefing up the O-Line and secondary), obscenely poor coordinators the past few years (Fairchild was a joke) and an owner who just doesn't seem to care anymore, and you have a recipe for misery.
I still say 11/2/09 is Dick's Day of Reckoning.
At least this is somewhat promising.
But who would replace Disaster Dick? Nobody from inside the organization, as far as I can tell, has remotely relevant experience. To wit:
- Bobby April - 18 years in the NFL; Assistant Head Coach/ST Coach with the Bills. Has never been a head coach or coordinator in his career. Bills' version of Dante Scarnecchia.
- Perry Fewell - Love the hat, but he's been a D coordinator for only 3 years and I'd be surprised w/o a "real" O-coordinator (we'll get to Van Pelt) if a defensive specialist was given the reins.
- Alex Van Pelt - Josh McDaniels and Jon Gruden are the obvious parallels (and Gary Kubiak I guess) , but Mc-D was O-coordinator for 8 years under Belichick and Kubiak has been a bust. Gruden is a little more interesting a parallel, but even he had more coaching experience than Van Pelt (3 years as O-coordinator in Philly before assuming the reins in Oakland).
Answer? In the immortal words of Adriana La Cerva: "He'd f*cking bettuh".
Sunday, October 11, 2009
You may have noticed that posting has been light here at Fire Dick Jauron! Central. Well, that's mainly because I really don't give a $hit about Dick or this team at this point. I mean, we are talking about
- 13 accepted penalties costing the Bills 75 yards, at least half of which were false starts. At home.
- punting on 4th and 1 from their own 40 with 4 minutes to play. Not to recycle Tuesday Morning QB's shtick, but the Bills are 1-3, they are playing the freaking Browns, they've actually been moderately successful running the ball. Going for it here instills confidence in your players Dick, that you believe in them. Instead, he sends in the punter. Congratulations. Now you are 1-4.
- Once again, an unimaginative playbook. Short passes, checkdowns, straight-up rushing offense.
- Ridiculous sunglasses. Sporting those is a fireable offense in itself.
The 2001 Bears was a long time ago.