Assistant Fewell to replace Jauron as Bills coach
Perry Fewell shared a simple but blunt philosophy in taking over as the Buffalo Bills interim head coach after Dick Jauron was abruptly fired on Tuesday.
"Play like hell and win," Fewell said.
That's the plan and also the challenge for Fewell, following the defensive coordinator's promotion. He has seven games left in the season to prove that he's capable of turning around a struggling team and a franchise that's now on its fifth coach in nine years and in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for a 10th straight season.
Jauron's firing was first reported by FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer.
downlevel descriptionThis video requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download a free version of the player.
It starts on Sunday, when the Bills (3-6) travel to play at Jacksonville.
Fewell then showed he's smart enough to not make any guarantees, when asked to assess how much he can do to fix an offense that's sputtered for most of the season despite the presence of Terrell Owens.
"We are who we are," Fewell said, adding he'll wait until Wednesday to announce whether quarterback Trent Edwards or backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this weekend. "We have that identity. We're going to try to give a little spark, but we are who we are."
Bills owner Ralph Wilson prompted the shakeup, which caught Fewell and several players by surprise. The move came during the players' day off and after Buffalo stumbled out of its bye week to fall further out of contention with a 41-17 loss at Tennessee last weekend.
Wilson described his decision to change coaches as a difficult one, but one "for the best interest of our team."
"I really don't have anything to say," was all Jauron would say when reached on his cell phone by The Associated Press.
In electing to promote Fewell, Wilson credited the assistant for having done "a great job with our defense and demonstrated excellent leadership skills," while noting the players and staff have confidence in him.
Fewell is in his 12th NFL season, and fourth with Buffalo as the team's defensive coordinator, after being hired by Jauron, whose background is primarily on the defensive side. Fewell also becomes the team's first black head coach.
He was offered the job by Wilson, shortly after he and the coaching staff were informed by Jauron that he had been fired.
Fewell declined to discuss whether he's been given an opportunity to keep the job beyond this season, but called his promotion "the opportunity of a lifetime."
The Bills' defense under Fewell has shown a resilient quality, though the numbers don't always show it. The unit's best season under Fewell was last year, when it finished 14th in the NFL in yards allowed despite missing numerous players to injuries.