32 Questions: Matter of preparation

Michael Silver

As a 15th-year veteran with Pro Bowls and playoff games in his past and more career sacks (78) than any active NFL linebacker, Chad Brown has learned to roll his eyes at the drama that inevitably crops up during a season.

So when Brown, now in his second stint with the Patriots, found himself in the middle of Massachusetts' most celebrated crime-and-punishment scandal since the Salem Witch Trials, he put aside the emotion of the moment and viewed things purely from a football perspective.

A few minutes after the Pats' stunningly comprehensive dismantling of the Chargers at Gillette Stadium Sunday night, Brown didn't dignify the presumption that New England coach Bill Belichick, having just received a severe punishment from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for having videotaped New York Jets coaches giving defensive signals in the previous week's season opener, had rallied the troops to defend the franchise's honor.

Instead, in so many words, Brown basically implied that Belichick had kicked Chargers coach Norv Turner's ass.

"Did you think we'd be prepared for this game?" Brown asked rhetorically. "Think about it – that's what we do here. We faced them in the playoffs last January, and we knew they'd be good again. This is a big game. Do you think Bill hasn't been preparing for it since the schedule came out, or even before it came out?"

Consider that a bonus question in a week in which there's no question as to which team belongs at the top (after checking in at No. 2 last week), and there's a new bottom-dweller as well.

1. New England Patriots: Have they ever been this good, this soon?

2. Indianapolis: How much better does this team look with Bob Sanders in the lineup, and can he possibly stay there all season?

3. San Diego Chargers: Are they still a legitimate member of the Big Three, or is it now just the Big Two?

4. Dallas Cowboys: With his size, speed and aggressive running style, shouldn't Marion Barber be the starter already?

5. Chicago Bears: Can this team get by on the two Ds: defense and Devin Hester?

6. Tennessee Titans: Hey, haters and fantasy geeks: If Vince Young is such a lousy quarterback, how does he always seem to have his team in position to pull out big games?

7. Pittsburgh Steelers: Is it just me, or is it starting to seem like the Rooneys have done it again?

8. Baltimore Ravens: When Brian Billick accused the Jets' defensive players of "illegally simulating the snap count" on Monday, how aroused was Bill Belichick?

9. Houston Texans: If Andre Johnson's knee doesn't get better soon, will the hard times return?

10. Denver Broncos: What does it say about today's NFL when a team which came thisclose to losing at home to the Raiders is still in the Top 10?

11. Washington Redskins: So do you Joe Gibbs-bashers still think the game has passed him by, or would you say he's finally catching up to it again?

12. Green Bay Packers: Will they finish with more victories than the number of players that most fans could name off their roster?

13. Seattle Seahawks: Matt, Shaun: Do you guys know each other?

14. Cincinnati Bengals: If Chad Johnson got beer spilled on him, what kind of shower would have been appropriate for the Bengals' defensive backs?

15. Jacksonville Jaguars: What would have been a more boring way to spend last Sunday: Watching the Jags beat the Falcons or Senator Tom Harkin's 30th Annual Steak Fry on C-SPAN II?

16. San Francisco 49ers: If his neighbor asked to borrow a box of sugar, would Mike Nolan trust Alex Smith to deliver it?

17. Arizona Cardinals: Think Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have had a slight impact on the running game?

18. Detroit Lions: With all due respect to Jon Kitna's deity-provoked return in overtime, isn't the real miracle that the Lions are 2-0?

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Is Joey Galloway still that good, or is the Saints' secondary that atrocious?

20. Minnesota Vikings: Did we really expect a team quarterbacked by Tarvaris Jackson (four interceptions) and/or Brooks Bollinger (brutal fumble in overtime) to be a contender?

21. New Orleans Saints: Is it true that U2 and Green Day will return to the Superdome for Monday night's home opener and perform their newest tune, "The Saints Are Bumming?"

22. New York Jets: Hey, Justin McCareins, are you allergic to leather, or did you just get spooked by the whole O.J./seized football thing?

23. Carolina Panthers: How many touchdowns does Steve Smith have to score for the Panthers to have a chance against an AFC team?

24. Philadelphia Eagles: Can it really be this bad, or are Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb doing one of their rising-from-the-abyss things?

25. Buffalo Bills: When J.P. Losman says the Bills need to "open up the offense more in the beginning" of games, does anyone really disagree?

26. St. Louis Rams: Can someone please explain to me how a team with this many playmakers is averaging 14½ points a game?

27. New York Giants: Has Bill Parcells called yet?

28. Cleveland Browns: Hey, Romeo: If Derek Anderson is this good, why the hell did you open the season with Charlie Frye at quarterback?

29. Miami Dolphins: When Ricky Williams gets reinstated, how stupid would the Dolphins be not to play him?

30. Kansas City Chiefs: If I reminded you that this team made the playoffs last season, would you believe me?

31. Oakland Raiders: How many times does Josh McCown have to screw up before Lane Kiffin gives Daunte Culpepper a chance?

32. Atlanta Falcons: Yo, Byron Leftwich: Are you sure you want to climb aboard the S.S. Minnow?