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Jauron has it down, plain and simple

When Dick Jauron coaches a football game his face displays a stoic equilibrium, a poker player's indifference, the countenance of a man on a park bench content to watch the pigeons peck.

Marv Levy caved to occasional outbursts of unbridled joy and unrestrained anger. Wade Phillips let his displeasures surface through demonstrative contortions that screamed, "Aw shucks." The highs and lows of every situation were engraved on the mug of the emotionally charged Gregg Williams. But Jauron? He's the epitome of neutrality no matter how the circumstances ebb and flow.

Jauron delivers his media briefings with comparable reserve, his voice devoid of insightful inflection, so that if he were to say something like, "Trent Edwards is making great strides," you're left to wonder whether he's spouting what he believes or just feeding you a line to spare his player further scrutiny.

Jauron couldn't rock a boat if he were sailing on rough seas. For instance, he was asked Monday whether the Bills were truly in an illegal formation against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday when their successful two-point conversion was taken off the board.

"That's not my call. We'll defer that to the league," Jauron said.

Pressed on whether the Bills might request NFL clarification, the head coach went off the deep end and responded, "We may."

There must be a method to his nonchalance because for the second time in seven years he has a young, up-and-coming team soaring to unexpected heights.

Any tendency to dismiss Buffalo's 4-0 record as the stuff of smoke, mirrors and incredible good fortune is mitigated by Jauron's history. His 2001 Chicago Bears, 5-11 the season before, confronted the NFL with a preacher's fiery determination. They scored their first comeback win by hanging 14 fourth-quarter points on Minnesota. Later, they put up 15 in the fourth quarter against San Francisco, 14 against Cleveland, 10 against Detroit and 10 against Washington. Do you see the parallels between those Bears and these Bills?

"When I think back on that team I'm thinking back on the whole year, so it's kind of an unfair comparison because obviously they ended up 13-3," Jauron said Monday. "We're off to a good start here, but it's so early."

And just when you thought that was the end, the coach lent illumination to his initial reply.

"I would say the thing that comes first in my mind is high character," Jauron said. "A very high-character team, and this one is also. Hard-working, tough guys who liked to play and liked each other. They stayed fairly healthy through that year. Knock on wood, hopefully we can do that, but it's so early."

But what about the fourth-quarter magic? Look at this team, look at that team. The similarities to this point are striking.

"First of all, you have to be pretty good to keep coming back, to come back over the course of a whole year and win games because there's a lot of different ways to win," Jauron said. "But you have to be good. That was a very good team. . . . I've said so many times that if you want to win consistently in this league, you've got to have it all."

One can't help but wonder to what extent Jauron's unflappable demeanor impacted those Bears and influences these Bills. But one can conclude it's easier to play under stress when the man in charge is so utterly under control.

"There's not really a panic at halftime for us," Edwards said. "That's when teams kind of lose it in the second half. If you're down by a couple touchdowns at halftime, they come in panicking and everyone's off-kilter."

This year's Bills, under Jauron's leadership, are living in the eye of the storm.

e-mail: bdicesare@buffnews.com

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