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Monday Morning Quarterback

This week's game plan


by CK Rairden
Landmark columnist

NFL stadiums sat empty on Sunday. But with the turn of a new week, work resumes in the NFL.

The Chiefs are scheduled to practice today as are most teams. The NFL once again moves forward as will our coverage. With no game yesterday—MMQB has turned into this week’s game plan.

• • •

Paul Tagliabue had his hand forced last week by the player’s union. As debate and consideration for the week two schedule raged between the owners and the league office, the players union held a conference call.

27 player reps voted in that call and the tally of the vote was 17-10 to not play the games. Three teams reps abstained and the San Diego rep didn’t vote as they already had a bye scheduled for week two.

The last PR the league needed with pundits arguing back and forth on whether to let the games be played was a petty fight between ownership and the union. Tagliabue had little choice at that moment and the games were cancelled.

• • •

Now another tough decision looms—what does the NFL do about making up these games?

Choice # 1—Cancel the week two games completely, and keep the playoffs intact as scheduled.

Choice #2—Play week two’s schedule during the slot where the wild-card weekend would have been played, January 5-6, 2002.

Choice # 1

Revenue would be lost for all teams and players. San Diego would wind up playing 16 games and Arizona would wind up playing only 14 games. Completely unbalanced schedule with playoff teams determined by winning percentage.

Full playoff schedule of 12 teams. Three division champs and three wild card teams from each conference.
Choice #2—

Only eight playoff teams. Many games for many teams played late will be meaningless.
Full sixteen game schedule.

*MMQB prediction: Choice # 2. It will be a short playoff season, but the NFL is unlikely to dump a full week’s slate of games for only 2 wild card contests.

*Wild card—the networks. If they balk, it could all change, but the league will likely appease them.

• • •

The game—
It doesn’t get any easier for the Chiefs as the NFC champs come into Arrowhead. The Giants are happy to have their second straight road game after last week’s horror played out right outside and in view of many of the players homes.

• • •

Giants QB Kerry Collins played well in game one throwing for 3 TD’s and no interceptions. He had no run support.

Chiefs QB Trent Green struggled during his KC debut, but did hook up for a 30-yard TD pass to tie the game at 24 late in the fourth quarter. His only interception was on a last second desperation heave. As Collins, he had no run support.

• • •

Contrary to their performance on Monday night in week one the G-men have a superb run defense.

The Chiefs defense played superb early, forcing turnovers and field goals. They finally folded after being on the field for over 40-minutes of game time.

• • •

Special Teams-
Two booming punters.
The Chiefs Dan Stryzinski nailed a 76-yarder against the Raiders. The Giants rookie punter Rodney Williams upstaged that with a 90-yard mile high punt.

• • •

It’s gotta be the shoes-
WR Derrick Alexander will reportedly try a different shoe style to combat his nagging Achilles injury. He had no catches in week one, and the Chiefs desperately need a healthy Alexander for any offensive success.

• • •

Center exchange—
One important part of the offensive line has a shot at returning this week. C Casey Wiegmann underwent surgery before week one and vowed to be back for week three.

This would be a welcome change for QB Trent Green given the struggles that he and back-up C Brian Waters had with their snaps during the Raiders game that resulted in two costly turnovers.

• • •

Parting shot—
Las Vegas also resumed its NFL schedule Sunday night. The Chiefs won’t be a home underdog for the second straight home game. They are a 1 1/2-point favorite.