Second impression: Jauron hired as Bills coach
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Dick Jauron didn't need to attend Yale to learn what it'll take to make his second stint as an NFL head coach more successful than his first.
"In our business, it comes out in wins and losses. And if you win, it was a great decision. And if you don't win, it was not a great decision," Jauron said Monday after being hired by the Buffalo Bills. "And we know that our back is against the wall to win."
Jauron coached the Chicago Bears for five seasons, going 35-46 with one playoff appearance before being fired in 2003. It's a résumé that even he acknowledges could cause some skepticism among Bills fans.
But it didn't stop Hall of Fame coach and new Buffalo general manager Marv Levy from picking Jauron to replace Mike Mularkey, who abruptly resigned two weeks ago.
"Records mean something, but I look far beyond the won-lost records," Levy said. "I came here with a losing record. Bill Belichick went to New England with a losing record. Mike Shanahan went to Denver off a losing record in Oakland. So record alone doesn't tell it."
Hiring Jauron is Levy's first decision since replacing president/GM Tom Donahoe, who was fired three weeks ago. And Levy, who attended Harvard, said he had no bias in selecting a fellow Ivy Leaguer in Jauron, who graduated from Yale with a history degree.
"We were selecting the best head coach, the man who was going to direct it and put it all together," Levy said.
Jauron had only one winning season with Chicago, going 13-3 in 2001 when he was named the NFL's coach of the year.
A candidate for the Bills job when Mularkey was hired in 2004, Jauron spent the past two seasons as the Detroit Lions defensive coordinator and finished last season as the team's interim head coach after Steve Mariucci was fired in late November.
Jauron's hiring was backed by Bills guard Chris Villarrial, who played with the Bears during Jauron's entire tenure.
"You guys will see and Buffalo fans are going to see that he's a true football coach, a down-to-earth guy and a winner," Villarrial said. "The faster we get this thing turned around, it's going to be much better for him and for us."
Jauron is a defensive specialist who, as Jacksonville's coordinator from 1995-98, helped the expansion team reach the playoffs three times. A former NFL defensive back, Jauron broke into coaching as an assistant with the Bills in 1985 and also spent nine years as a defensive backs coach with Green Bay.
The biggest question is how Jauron will address a sputtering Bills' offense, which finished 28th in the NFL last season. The unit struggled under first-year starter J.P. Losman, who went 2-7 in games he had a majority of playing time, and eventually lost his job to journeyman backup Kelly Holcomb.
Among Jauron's first decisions will be hiring an offensive coordinator to replace Tom Clements, who was among five assistants fired earlier this month. He's also expected to find a new defensive coordinator after Jerry Gray, who remains on staff, has said he doesn't expect to be back.
Jauron was short on specifics in discussing his plans, saying he must first evaluate the team's staff and its players.
"The only thing I'll promise to do is everything I can to fulfill my obligation to bring a winning team back to Buffalo," Jauron said. "There's a great winning tradition here, we know the fans are very passionate and it's something we're very passionate about."
The Bills bucked the NFL trend in selecting an experienced head coach after six of seven vacancies this month have been filled by first-timers. Houston, meanwhile, is also prepared to hire Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
The Oakland Raiders are the only team that has yet to identify a coach it plans to hire.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press