The National Football League schedule should have been distributed this year in pencil and with an eraser. Even changes have already been rescheduled. That Monday Night Football double-header they announced last week, yeah, that’s not happening. Instead the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots will play a morning game next Sunday.
That forces seven other changes, including the Miami Dolphins at Broncos game originally scheduled for next Sunday, being moved to Week 11. In all, in just five weeks the league has made 11 schedule changes, and we can expect more as this season threads their campaign through the epidemic.
And so it goes.
What we do have tonight is the originally scheduled Monday Night Football matchup between the homestanding New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Saints start one of the oldest and most prolific quarterbacks in the game, Drew Brees, and the Chargers counter with one of the youngest, rookie Justin Herbert.
Herbert was pressed into duty three weeks ago when a medical accident resulted in starter Tyrod Taylor having his lung punctured. Herbert, without any time working with the Chargers offense as the expected starter, went in against the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and battled Patrick Mahomes to overtime. His impressive opening NFL effort won him the starting job after solid efforts against the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now, far be it for me to criticize an NFL head coach, mostly out of respect and sometimes out of restraint on my part. So, it is with breaking that rule, that I condemn Anthony Lynn and his decision to bench Taylor in favor of the rookie. Let me get this straight, your starting quarterback, that led your team to a road win on opening day, and then is damaged by your medical staff through no fault of his own, has his starting job taken away after Herbert leads three straight losses?
Are you freakin nuts?
Do you not see what this does to both your incumbent starter and your rookie? Want to have a locker room go south on you? Seems you do.
Let me take liberty to tell you that when a veteran loses his job there is always a contingent of veteran players who will contend it was a mistake … even if it was the right decision based on poor play on the field. But to have a team doctor injure a player and have that be the reason he is replaced is tantamount to inviting dissension that is truly unnecessary.
So, I don’t expect you will be getting a Christmas card from the Taylor family this year.
But, perhaps even worse, do you know what this does with your team and your first round draft choice that is forecasted to someday be the starter?
It will create an automatic distance between him and a number of players on your roster that think you mistreated the guy you had pleaded for months to be the man everyone aligns behind.
You have made it tougher or Herbert and impossible for Taylor.
Tonight, you put your rookie into battle in primetime in the Big Easy against Brees?
Now, for some reason, and I’m going to surrender to this fact, the wise guy gamblers think you are in a good spot to stay within a touchdown of the Saints tonight. That is the way the money is going, and while I seldom disagree with the wise guys, I’m not inclined to back them on this one or tempt fate by going against them.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, is another NFL game.
Welcome to the 2020 NFL accordion schedule.