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SPECIAL TEAMS COACH ON HOT SEAT

Nobody has to tell Ronnie Jones what's coming this week. He knows.

The Buffalo Bills' rookie special teams coach expects to be the target of criticism from the media and fans after his unit contributed greatly to the team's 27-14 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

However, Jones claims he won't see or hear any of it.

"No offense, but I don't read newspapers, which is probably a good thing this week," he said outside the Bills' locker room. "I don't listen to talk shows. I'm not a total idiot, so I know when we didn't do well."

Saying the Bills didn't do well on special teams is putting it mildly. The kickoff coverage, ranked 29th in the NFL before Sunday, has been lousy since the preseason and it does not appear to be improving.

The Jets returned just two kickoffs, but one was a 97-yard touchdown by Kevin Williams only seconds after the Bills scored on their opening possession.

The Bills changed personnel for the third straight week, going with many of the people who struggled in the season-opener against Tennessee. There have been as many as seven first- or second-year players on the kickoff coverage team, but Jones admitted the inexperience excuse is starting to get old.

"Yes, we do have a lot of young players, but they've got to grow up fast," he said. "They're in the National Football League now, and they are playing a man's game. I think we made mistakes in just about every area you can make mistakes in. They've got to do a better job, I've got to do a better job and we've got to get it done in a hurry."

For the Bills' and his sake.

Coach Wade Phillips raised a lot of eyebrows when he hired Jones to replace long-time special teams coach Bruce DeHaven, who was fired shortly after the "Home Run Throwback" kickoff return by the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs last season.

Jones is a former college defensive coordinator and a linebackers coach in the NFL, but has never coached special teams before. Phillips even said he would take a more active role on special teams, but his presence hasn't made much of a difference.

It looks like Bills fans aren't the only ones becoming impatient with special teams. A visibly angry General Manager John Butler could be heard dropping a few expletives as he began a closed-door session with Jones and Phillips.

It's uncertain what Butler said, but judging by the look on Jones' face, the conversation wasn't pleasant.

"No one puts more pressure on me than me," Jones said. "I want us to be a great special teams unit. I want us to be a unit that doesn't cost us the game, but helps us win. I felt like last week we made some plays to help us win. We not only didn't do what it took to help us win (Sunday), but we added to the defeat a lot. Maybe we got them all out of the way at one time. I hope so because we had a lot of them."

Besides giving up a touchdown on a kickoff, place-kicker Steve Christie had a field goal attempt blocked, and Chris Watson's two fourth-quarter fumbles while fielding punts were killers.

The Jets got only three points out of Watson's turnovers, but the extra possessions allowed them to burn valuable minutes off the clock.

"I've had better days," said Watson, who was obtained in a trade with Denver prior to the regular season because rookie Avion Black struggled during the preseason.

"I was just out there trying to make something happen. That's my nature. I kind of forgot about the rule I play by, which is catch the ball first and then go. I was just trying to make something happen."

Jones said it's going to take time for the young players on special teams to improve. But he strongly insists they will.

"We just have to put our heads down and go to work and continue to get better," he said. "Obviously, we've got a lot of room for improvement. We're not going to make excuses. We played poorly, but we are going to get better. I'm gonna watch this film, and I will evaluate us."

Meanwhile, the evaluation of Jones as special teams coach will intensify during the Bills' upcoming bye week.

"I won't pay a lot of attention to what I get in the newspaper," he said, "because I know what that grade's gonna be already, so I don't need to look it up."

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