Schonert says O 'wasn't simple enough'

Updated: September 6, 2009, 9:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Buffalo Bills remain a team in turmoil as former offensive coordinator Turk Schonert told a Buffalo television station Friday afternoon he was fired because the Bills' offense "wasn't simple enough" for coach Dick Jauron.

"He wants a 'Pop Warner' offense," Schonert said in a phone interview with WIVB. "He limited me in formations, and limited me in plays. He's been on my back all offseason."

Schonert said he was fired by Jauron during a Friday morning meeting. ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen reported Saturday that Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. had a meeting at his Detroit home with Jauron, general manager Russ Brandon, quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt and running back coach/running game coordinator Eric Studesville.

A Bills spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny a meeting occurred.

Friday afternoon in a press conference, Jauron said Schonert was fired for a "lack of productivity," though he also said the fault was not all Schonert's.

The Bills' offensive starters failed to score a touchdown in five preseason games after ranking 25th in the NFL in offense in 2008, Schonert's first as the team's play-caller.

Though nervous in taking over as the Bills new offensive coordinator, Van Pelt has the players behind him after several expressed concerns about Schonert.

Both quarterback Trent Edwards and receiver Lee Evans supported the move after the team returned to practice Sunday to start preparing for its season opener at New England on Sept. 14. Both indicated players had voiced their concerns about the offensive sputters to coach Dick Jauron, who ultimately made the decision to fire Schonert on Friday.

"I think everybody had concerns about it," Evans said. "I think the basis of it was that things weren't getting done the right way. And that was the cause of the change."

Jauron said while the firing of Schonert was a relatively new idea to him, it wasn't one he wanted to sit on for long.

"When you make a decision you know when you should do it," Jauron said. "I wasn't thinking about firing him three days ago. I wasn't thinking about it two weeks ago. And when you start to think about it, I think you need to move on it and do something. Clearly I believe it's the right thing to do."

Schonert said the problem was the complexity of his system.

"He [Jauron] told me the offense wasn't simple enough for him," Schonert said. "We had too many formations, too many plays. I didn't simplify it to his liking."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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