The Buffalo Bills today fired coach Dick Jauron today, team owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. told The News.
"It's the toughest thing I ever had to do personally because he's such a great guy," Wilson said. "But nothing ever seemed to go right."
The move comes in the wake of Sunday's 41-17 loss at Tennessee, which dropped the Bills to 3-6 on the season. The Bills have won only five of their last 19 games.
Jauron ended his 3 1-2 year Bills tenure with a record of 24-33.
"He's just a great guy, and I feel very bad about it," Wilson said. "But I think it's best for the team and the fans and everybody."
It's expected that either defensive coordinator Perry Fewell or assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Bobby April will take over for the final seven games of the season. The Bills visit Jacksonville on Sunday.
"We'll go forward to Jacksonville," Wilson said. "We haven't made up our mind who will be the interim coach."
While the Bills were not picked by many to be a playoff team this year, expectations were high for improvement over last season. Instead, the Bills' offense is on pace for one of its poorest seasons in team history.
"It's been terrible," Wilson said of the disappointment he has felt over the season.
Jauron's career record as a head coach is 60-80, counting previous stints in Chicago and as an interim coach in Detroit.
Jauron, 59, benefited from what might be the most fortunately timed contract extension in the Bills' 50-year history. He agreed to a three-year extension shortly after the Bills' 5-1 start last season. The guaranteed deal was worth about $3 million a year.
The Bills last year became one of only three NFL teams in the past 31 years to start 5-1 but finish with a losing record. They were 7-9. Jauron also was only the 14th coach since 1970 to survive to start a fourth season despite three straight losing seasons.
The Bills' collapse last year, along with questionable in-game management decisions, made Jauron a target of fan displeasure. At the end of last season, fans favored Jauron's dismissal by a 90 percent to 10 percent margin, in a Buffalo News poll.
Nevertheless, Wilson opted to retain the coach in part because he wanted to maintain continuity in the football department.
Continuity, however, has been absent this season. Jauron fired his offensive coordinator, Turk Schonert, just 10 days before the start of the regular season and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, who never has held the coordinator post in the NFL. Then five days before the opener, the Bills released starting left tackle Langston Walker.
The Bills' offense has been paralyzed by inexperience and injuries. The Bills had the second-youngest offensive line in the NFL to open the season in this decade. The Bills' offense ranks fourth worst in the NFL. High-profile addition Terrell Owens is off to the worst start of his career as a starter in the league.
what a mess