1. What Terry Pegula gave General Manager Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan Wednesday was less of a vote of confidence for them than it was a vote of stability for the Bills as a whole. Pegula's statement, which effectively said Whaley and Ryan aren't going anywhere despite calls from fans and media for one or both to be fired, included this operative phrase to that effect: "This stable foundation is necessary to achieve long-term success in the NFL." Later, a highly placed team source, in underscoring how entrenched Pegula and Whaley are in their respective jobs, told me, "Stable wins. Look at the NFL." That's true. The teams with consistent success have continuity at the top. Obviously, success breeds continuity, but at some point you need to believe in the people you've put in place (especially with a coach who hasn't even been with your team a full season) enough to allow them to build a program. Continual blowing up of your hierarchy only means more mediocrity or worse. What I want to see most from Whaley and Ryan is a well-defined vision of the Bills' identity (which I believe is supposed to be a team whose success is driven by defense and a complementary power running game) and how well they are able to find the right pieces for a scheme that seemed to have too many wrong ones this season.
2. Mario Williams and the Bills have been that couple whose divorce has long been imminent, needing only the official documents to be signed. On Thursday, reports surfaced that the Bills plan to go forward with the no-brainer move of releasing the defensive end. Even if Williams wasn't the horrible fit that he is in Ryan's defensive scheme, his contract consumed far too much salary-cap space. The options were for him to accept a drastic pay cut -- something Williams had recently made public he would not do -- or be cut. By parting ways with him, the Bills will realize a cap savings of $12.9 million. That will help in their efforts to retain a couple of offensive linemen who are due to become free agents -- tackle Cordy Glenn and guard Richie Incognito -- and perhaps make at least a somewhat competitive offer to keep linebacker Nigel Bradham, although he would figure to be less of a priority. It's unlikely that the Bills will have a whole lot of cap space to acquire players with the knowledge necessary to function well in Ryan's defense, but they need to squeeze all they can out of what's available while hitting multiple home runs in the draft.
3. It sounds good in theory: Rain all over the parade of a division rival seeking to make the playoffs on your home turf. But when you think about it, a loss against the Jets Sunday would actually be better for the Bills because it would improve their draft position. I know that's what you and many other fans are thinking. I'm sure it will cross the collective mind of the Bills' faithful attending the game. How much does it matter to the Bills' players? Not at all. They have no interest in anything related to the influx of new players, because they will be taking jobs from current players. How much does it matter to Ryan? Not at all. Although Ryan would benefit from a higher draft pick, that isn't nearly as important to him as a chance to prevent the team that fired him from reaching the postseason. And now that Ryan's future is secure, his players -- at least the ones healthy enough to be on the field -- would seemingly have a little more incentive to play hard because Ryan and Whaley will be around to determine their fate.