Buffalo's players were open in stating their support for head coach Dick Jauron as a season of unmet expectations came to a close. Those same players were obviously very pleased on Tuesday when their owner Ralph Wilson announced Jauron would be retained as head coach.
"I'm very excited that Dick Jauron is going to be my head coach moving forward," said offensive lineman Brad Butler. "He's is the best leader I have ever worked under not only in football, but in any job I've ever had."
"I've said all along that I have the utmost respect and faith in coach Jauron and his staff and to see Ralph make that decision it's really overwhelming at this point," said Chris Kelsay.
The players understand the fans are frustrated with no playoff berth this season, but they believe they're better off staying the course and trying to improve off of what they did do well in 2008 despite the fact that it didn't translate into more wins.
"I can sympathize with (fans) completely," said Duke Preston. "I think nine years without a playoff team and three years at 7-9, that's frustrating. That's frustrating for us, and it's got to be even more frustrating for them because we have a say in it. But like I said yesterday I think in our day and age of instant gratification and stuff, making switches and pulling pieces apart in my mind I don't know if that's the best way to do it all the time."
"I think if you were to bring in another coaching staff, you're starting from square one and you'd have to build up from there," said Kelsay. "At least we have our fundamentals and our foundation intact and we can build on things that we need to build on instead of starting over altogether."
The players know in a season where things don't work out the coach is the one held accountable, but most of them are of the opinion that it's on their shoulder to get better results on Sunday.
"The players, we've got to go out and play," said Paul Posluszny. "It is on us, the coaches do the best job they can and on Sundays we have to go out and do our part. That is the most important thing, on Sundays we have to go out and play the game like we have been coached and like we know how to play."
"Coaches can only prepare you for Sundays and I think coach Jauron and his staff have done a great job in doing that and it's up to us as players to execute and get the job done on Sundays," said Kelsay. "We failed this year. Ultimately we didn't play well enough to win more football games. Obviously the first person they look at is the head coach, but as a leader of this team and a captain I take that upon myself. We have to do our part."
Knowing Jauron's fate was anything but certain at season's end the players are now energized knowing he'll be coaching them in 2009 and realize they've got to make the playoffs a reality next fall.
"I can only speak for myself, but I know this inspires me to work that much harder this offseason," said Butler. "And I'm confident my teammates will also be encouraged by this."
"This should be a wake up call," said Kelsay. "We have a really good thing here with coach Jauron and his staff and we should meet the expectations of ourselves and they're really expectations that we're capable of meeting. I hope other people look at it in the same fashion. So hopefully this will get us motivated for this offseason and I'm already looking forward to the '09 season."