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Forty-One Questions The Bills’ New Owner Should Ask Their Coach And General Manager


With all the pageantry of his first weekend as the second-ever owner of the Buffalo Bills out of the way, Terry Pegula finds himself settling into the less-glamorous reality of owning the Buffalo Bills this week.

It only makes sense that one of the first orders of business would be holding a meeting with the company’s top executives, especially the guys who run the football team itself, general manager Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone. Particularly after their creation managed to look an awful lot like a Buddy Nix-Chan Gailey production during Sunday’s biannual flogging by the New England Patriots.

Pegula is historically more of a hockey guy and appears most comfortable working from a script (and we do not just say this because Kim Pegula seemed to be mouthing the words to Terry’s midfield remarks before Sunday’s 37-22 loss to New England along with her husband, evoking images of the couple running through his lines at the breakfast table). So We Want Marangi respectfully offers the following pertinent questions:

— So, you two do have some sort of plan, right?

— Did that plan involve Kyle Orton playing quarterback?

— Had you ever watched him play quarterback before?

— Kim and I have been busy running the Sabres, so I could be wrong, but doesn’t he play a lot like that guy with the beard who was the quarterback a couple of years ago?

— I keep hearing you say he gives us (use of finger quotes recommended, but not absolutely necessary with the right voice inflection) “the best chance to win.” How so?

— There were a couple of plays Sunday when Orton stood perfectly still while a Patriots player ran at him as fast as he could. Was that intentional? Like he thought the pass rusher might think the whistle had blown if he didn’t try to get away, or become transfixed by his eerie calm — which could be mistaken for obliviousness — while under duress and run right by him?

— Why didn’t you draft somebody better?

— I see. With the very first pick you made after getting hired, you say? Well, I know the rest of the team hasn’t been very good in a while, either. Why didn’t you draft somebody to give the poor kid some help?

— Ah. And where was this Watkins fellow on Sunday?

— Wait a minute. You’re saying that if the other team assigns its best player to guard our best player, we just sort of give up on getting the ball to him?

— Even Kim and I knew the Patriots like to throw to that Gronkowski character, but they still did it an awful lot, didn’t they?

— Anyway, my hockey people tell me that by losing a lot, we can get a really good player in the next draft. And they’re doing a great job at that. So at least we can get another quarterback come spring if this Orton thing doesn’t work out, right?

— What do you mean, we don’t have a first-round pick? Doesn’t everybody get one? That doesn’t sound right. Hold on while I call Bob Kraft and see why we …

— Oh. Let me make sure I’m keeping up here. So you spent your first first-round draft choice on a quarterback, then the next two on a receiver to help him out. But we’ve already ditched the quarterback for somebody that four other teams told to hit the bricks and we don’t throw to the receiver when other teams think we’re going to do that. Have I got this straight?

— But you do have a plan, you say?

— What about that other receiver, the one you got for a sixth-round draft choice? Where was he on Sunday?

— That’s right. I remember seeing something about that on the Twitter. Seems like a bit of a jerk. Didn’t you throw him off your team in college?

— But then you traded for him?

— I see he wants to be traded again already. What can we get for him?

— Well, let’s not get bogged down on one side of the ball. I keep hearing that we have a great defense. Do great defenses usually give up 37 points at home?

— Yes, Tom Brady is very good. But I noticed that after we got within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and absolutely had to stop New England to have a chance to tie it up, Mario Williams wasn’t on the field. How much am I paying him again?

— So why wasn’t he, or that No. 55 who had sacked Brady twice, on the field for the most important series of the season?

Rotation? Isn’t that a baseball thing?

— Yes, everyone needs rest to be at their best. Even I like a nap once in a while. But in a spot like that, don’t you want our best players out there?

— It sure did seem like a running situation. But haven’t the Patriots been throwing in spots like that since Brady has been Brady?

— So you’re telling me that one of your assistants makes those decisions?

The guy who asked his players to carry him off the field in Detroit?

— Isn’t that kind of like throwing a birthday party for yourself?

— Who is this Duke Williams person?

— Is he an actual duke?

— That’s too bad. Has anyone told him that he is allowed to turn around while he’s covering a receiver?

— Are you sure he knows that he can try to catch the ball, or bat it away, or do something besides shove the receiver with both hands?

— And that when an opposing receiver runs by our cornerback, like on that last New England touchdown, he is supposed to cover that receiver, instead of sort of standing there, then half-heartedly chasing him into the end zone?

— Who do you have to check with? Schwartz? Is that the birthday-party guy?

— Back to the offense for a minute. On that play where C.J. Spiller gets the ball and runs out of bounds behind the line, is that the way it’s supposed to work?

— I didn’t think so. Why don’t you try some other things, like throwing to him down the field a little?

— I know he’s not much of a blocker — I saw him almost get Orton killed in Detroit. But Fred Jackson’s pretty good at protection. Why not use them both at the same time more, and split Spiller out or something?

— So you’re telling me we’re better off having another first-round pick on the bench and a guy you traded for in street clothes while that No. 15, who nobody drafted, plays. What’s his name again?

— Ha! Hogan’s Heroes always cracked me up. Is that still on in re-runs anywhere?

— But seriously. You’re absolutely sure you have a plan?

— Well, we’ve covered a lot of ground here. Good talk. Just one more thing before we wrap up. So did you guys buy houses around here, or are you renting?

  • Ridgewaycynic2013

    Have you, Mr. Staba, sent your resume to the Buffalo News? This article is so much more interesting than the bandwagon jumping (both ways) that Sullivan and crew do over there.