Bills LBs Mitchell, Buggs out for season

Updated: October 13, 2009, 5:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

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 fending off critics again.

Before answering another round of questions about his job security Monday, a day after a dreadful 6-3 loss to Cleveland, Jauron announced the Bills 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.

The Bills placed Mitchell and Buggs on the injured reserve list Tuesday.

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 filling in for Paul Posluszny. And Posluszny is still a few weeks away from returning after breaking his left arm in Buffalo's season-opening loss at New England.

With fourth-year player Keith Ellison now the team's only experienced linebacker, Buffalo (1-4) added linebacker Chris Draft and safety Todd Johnson on Tuesday as it prepares to play at 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, a week after a 38-10 loss at Miami. After registering three straight 7-9 finishes under Jauron, the Bills are already in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for a 10th straight season.

Bills fans are growing frustrated. Some wore bags on their heads on Sunday, 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 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 on 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 that's been undone by quarterback Trent Edwards' tentative play in front of an inexperienced line that's 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 three games. They committed nine false-start penalties. And they couldn't out-duel a Cleveland popgun attack that mustered 193 yards 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 a touchdown each, while combining for 361 yards -- about 90 yards a game.

The Bills join St. Louis and Kansas City as the NFL's three 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 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 yards passing were the sixth-fewest against Buffalo in team history. The Browns' two completions tied for the fewest by a Bills opponent. ... S Donte Whitner, who had surgery two weeks ago to repair ligaments in his right thumb, is hopeful he'll play this weekend. ... RT Jonathan Scott is day to day after twisting his ankle Sunday.

Information from ESPN.com's John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.