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Column: It's time for a quick game of catch up

By By Josh Taylor/sports writer
October 19, 2003
As we near the halfway point in this year's NFL season I thought it would be a good idea to take a roll call and see where everybody stands. If you haven't been paying attention to pro football this would be a good place to start.
I figure I can pick up a few Cubs and Red Sox fans out there that are
officially done with baseball until next year.
Chiefs In Charge
The Kansas City Chiefs have been barnstorming through the NFL since the season started. They currently hold an impressive 6-0 record. While most of the credit for the Chiefs record belongs to running back Priest Holmes, don't forget about head coach Dick Vermeil.
The Chiefs are somewhat of a re-creation of the 1999 St. Louis Rams. The Rams started off 1999 with Trent Green at quarterback and Vermeil on the sideline and a lot of high expectations. Green got hurt and in came Kurt Warner and you know the rest.
While the Rams have come up short since then, Vermeil has built another very good football team at Kansas City with a strong running game and Green behind center.
It's funny how some things never change.
Failed Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons were the toast of the town before a preseason injury to superstar quarterback Michael Vick left Doug Johnson at the helm. Johnson has since had problems of his own leaving the not-so-stellar Kurt Kittner calling the shots.
The 1-5 Falcons expected a Vick return after four weeks. Here we are at week seven and still no Vick. Atlanta will likely continue to toil in despair until Vick makes his return.
The good news is that the Saints no longer occupy the NFC South cellar.
The Big Tuna Rolls
This season was not expected to be a good one for the Dallas Cowboys. Analysts predicted feuds and fights between new Dallas head coach Bill Parcells and owner Jerry Jones. The Big Tuna has pulled a rabbit out of
his hat with a 4-1 Cowboys team.
Who knew?
This league probably doesn't give enough credit to head coaches. Guys like Parcells, Vermeil, and Jon Gruden really do make a difference on a team. Whether it be just enough to push a team over the high water mark or a full out resurrection, good NFL head coaches are not as easy to find as one might think.
Oakland Gets Old
Analysts have been saying for years that the Oakland Raiders were eventually going to get too old to compete. A roster full of Hall of Fame talent is great, but not when they were all born before the Vietnam war.
O.K., that may be a bit of an overstatement, but we all knew that the clock was ticking on the Raiders. More than likely, last season was the Raiders' swan song. Their current 2-4 record is not a total washout, but it's pretty bad.
Oakland faces the undefeated Chiefs Monday night. An upset is possible between these fierce rivals, but not likely.
Game Of The Week
The undefeated Carolina Panthers take on the 4-2 Tennessee Titans this week, but don't let the record fool you.
Tennessee may have two losses, but they are still one of the toughest teams in the NFL.
Steve Air' McNair is the single toughest, most versatile quarterback currently playing in the NFL. I will go ahead and apologize to all the Brett Favre fans that just hit the roof, but it's true.
McNair has a habit of finding a way to win. He has a strong arm as well as accuracy. And guess what, he can run.
The Titans only problem is running back Eddie George, or rather the way they utilize Eddie George.
George is a tough running back, but the Titans don't use him wisely. They are one of only a few teams in the league that doesn't use a fullback to block ahead of their tailback. George is often forced to do it all himself.
I can guarantee you that Priest Holmes would not have all those yards this season if he didn't have Tony Richardson clearing the way.
Regardless of records, this game is sure to be a good one.

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