'Backstabbing' an issue with Schonert firing


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Tuesday's edition of "Outside the Lines" examined last week's rash of offensive coordinator-cides, including the Buffalo Bills' decision to snuff Turk Schonert on Friday -- 10 days before the season opener against the New England Patriots.

ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck, who signed with the Bills out of Boston College in 2001 but didn't make the final roster, said he spoke to the players and was told Schonert had become a divisive element on the team by openly contradicting head coach Dick Jauron's philosophies in team meetings.

"I know personally, from talking to players on that team," Hasselbeck said, "that Turk was actually talking to the players and blaming some of the lack of success the offense was having on the fact that this [offense] was being forced down his throat.

"When you have a coaching staff that isn't pulling in the same direction to ultimately win football games, and you have coaches backstabbing other coaches, going behind their backs and saying, 'Hey, I don't like this idea, but this is what the head coach wants,' you end up creating a situation where no one trusts anybody."

The day Schonert was fired, he ripped Jauron to Buffalo's CBS affiliate.

Schonert told the station Jauron "wants a Pop Warner offense. He limited me in formations and limited me in plays. He's been on my back all offseason."

"Outside the Lines" host Bob Ley asked former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick whether Schonert's comments would haunt him.

"The thing that concerned me," Billick said, "was to hear Turk talk about Dick Jauron going to him several times in the summer, and he said, 'He kept telling me this had to change. This has to change.' Well, obviously, you weren't listening. The head coach, at the end of the day, is going to be the one responsible.

"There's always going to be discussion back and forth. You can disagree. ... But, at the end of the day, if the head coach says, 'This is what I want to see,' then that's what you're supposed to do, and you need to present it as though it were your own idea. And it didn't sound like that was happening."