Bills mum on talk of scuttling no-huddle offense
The Buffalo Bills no-huddle offense has suddenly become the no-comment attack. If the Bills intend to scuttle running the offense they've used since May, no one was willing to say after practice Thursday as the team prepares to play at the New York Jets this weekend. A Bills media relations official told reporters to ask only injury-related questions to Dick Jauron, though the coach has often discussed other topics on previous Thursdays. When a reporter asked Jauron about the no-huddle attack, the coach walked away without saying a word. Bills players also declined to discuss the topic. Receiver Lee Evans said he didn't know. Receiver Josh Reed said he didn't have time to talk because he had to go to the trainer's room. Running back Fred Jackson would only say, "No," when asked if the no-huddle attack was being pushed aside. Questions about the Bills offense came up after ProFootballTalk.com cited an unnamed league source Wednesday in reporting the team is overhauling its offense and getting rid of the no-huddle. The Bills offense is being blamed for the team's 1-4 start, and is under additional criticism following a 6-3 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. With a young and inexperienced offensive line, Buffalo was flagged nine times for false-start penalties and failed to score an offensive touchdown for the second time in three weeks. Quarterback Trent Edwards also has struggled. In losing the past three games, he's gone 50 for 91 for 500 yards with a touchdown and five interceptions. He's also been blamed for failing to get Evans and Terrell Owens involved in the passing game. Owens, who signed a one-year, $6.5 million contract with Buffalo in March, has 12 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown, and had a 185-game reception streak snapped in a 27-7 loss to New Orleans on Sept. 27. T.O. ranks 57th in the NFL in receiving yards this season, not a customary place for someone who counts nine 1,000-yard seasons and is fifth on the NFL career yards list. On Monday following the loss to Cleveland, Jauron had said the team is considering making changes. "I really don't think it's that," Jauron said, referring to whether the no-huddle attack resulted in the false-start penalties. "But we'll give everything some thought." Practice sessions are closed to the media except for a 15-minute window while players take part in individual drills. On Thursday, reporters were asked to head for the exit with two minutes left in the session. The no-huddle attack was not impressive even in the preseason, when the first-string offense failed to score a touchdown in four games. The struggles, in part, led to Jauron firing offensive coordinator Turk Schonert 10 days before the start of the regular season and replacing him with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt. Jauron introduced the no-huddle attack this offseason in a bid to spark an offense that has ranked 25th or worst in net yards in each of the past six seasons. Jauron hoped an aggressive attack would wear down defenses, who would be unable to make substitutions during drives. That hasn't always worked. Though the Bills haven't huddled, there have been times they've been so slow getting to the line of scrimmage that defenses have had an opportunity to runs fresh players on the field. "We need to win," Edwards said, when asked what needs to change. "We're working as hard as we possibly can right now to try to fix that." NOTES: The chances improved that starting FS Donte Whitner (thumb) and starting LB Paul Posluszny (broken arm) will play this weekend after both practiced on Thursday. ... Starting RT Jonathan Scott (ankle) missed his second day of practice, opening the door for rookie Jamon Meredith to start against the Jets. ... The Bills have lost eight straight against AFC East rivals.