Buffalo fans who hoped Terry and Kim Pegula learned their lesson after purchasing the Sabres shouldn’t be surprised if they took their time before making any major changes with the Bills. Their refusal to address obvious needs with the hockey team led to its inevitable downfall.
The Pegulas’ first order of business will be deciding whether to keep General Manager Doug Whaley and coach Doug Marrone. Apparently, tension mounted between the two during the season. Some inside the organization believe that their working relationship is beyond repair.
If that’s the case, the Pegulas need to hire an outside consultant with experience – Bill Polian? – to help them. Their record with the Sabres is enough to make anyone nervous about them making front-office decisions with the Bills. Russ Brandon could make the call, but he hired Whaley and Marrone.
Marrone raised eyebrows when he made it clear that he made the decision to change quarterbacks without checking with Whaley. He ripped the offensive line after the loss to the Raiders. Intentional or not, it sounded like a shot at the GM for not assembling better offensive personnel.
The Bills have missed the playoffs for 15 straight seasons. The game Sunday against the Patriots means little to either team. It would make sense for EJ Manuel to take over the offense against the Patriots for evaluation purposes. Marrone is staying with Orton with the idea he gives the Bills a better chance to win.
It said little about Manuel, less about Whaley. He was part of the decision to draft Manuel in the first round. He ultimately was responsible for giving up a first-round pick for Sammy Watkins with the idea the rookie receiver would solve Manuel’s problems. Meanwhile, other receivers were more productive.
We’ll see how it shakes out, but don’t be shocked if Marrone stays and Whaley takes the fall. Marrone made his mistakes, but he did more to help his case than Whaley did. The Bills had no business winning eight games with their quarterbacks and this offensive line.
• Stephen and Seth Curry have shown why it doesn’t matter where you play, but how you play, when it comes to college sports.
Stephen Curry played three years at Davidson and led the nation in scoring as a junior before the Warriors took him seventh overall in 2009. He’s one of the most exciting players in the NBA and in the top six in scoring, assists, steals and free-throw percentage. Golden State has the league’s best record.
Base salary: $10.6 million.
Seth Curry was led all freshman in scoring at Liberty before transferring to Duke. He played three years for the Blue Devils, was overlooked in the draft, and played one game each for Cleveland and Memphis. This year, he’s with the Erie Bayhawks in the NBA’s Development League and making about $25,000.
• Strange Stat: In 13 road games, Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson had a plus-minus ratio of minus-1. In 17 home games, he was minus-21. Overall, he was last in that category among 770 NHL players.
• Jaysean Paige, the former Jamestown High hoops star, is making an impact at West Virginia. Paige averaged 21.2 points per game for Moberly (Mo.) Area CC before accepting a scholarship from the Mountaineers. The junior guard started nine of 11 games and had 11 points last week in a win over North Carolina State.
• Peyton Manning is planning to return next season with the Broncos to continue his assault on the NFL record book, but hasn’t looked right for weeks. He threw four interceptions last week in a loss to the Bengals. He has lost too much zip on his fastball to believe he’s healthy.
• The Knicks fell to 5-26 with their loss Thursday to the Wizards, fueling speculation that GM Phil Jackson will return to coaching. Derek Fisher needs time as an assistant. The Knicks have lost 10 games this season by five points or less. For all the whining about the triangle offense, the real problem is defense. They’ve allowed 108 points per game, fourth-most in the NBA.