When winning a coin to start an NFL game, there are two basic options: (1)We want the ball and we will score“; and (2) we will postpone the option to the second half.
On Sunday, Packers cornerback Jair Alexander nearly committed a foul that would have given the Panthers the ball to start the first quarter and third quarter.
Via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Alexander told referee Alex Kemp after Green Bay won the toss by the Packers He wanted to be on defense. Kemp, who could (and should have) interpreted that to mean the Packers were exercising their punt option, cleared things up with Alexander before accepting that the Packers were holding off.
Coach Matt LaFleur informed officials of their plan to postpone during a pregame meeting. Which perhaps explains Kemp's efforts to clean up the potential mess Alexander might cause. In a game that ended 33-30, the Panthers' extra possession could have made the difference.
After the match, Alexander didn't think he made a mistake.
“I said, ‘I want our defense to be there,’ and they all looked at me like I was crazy,” Alexander said. “I mean, it's very simple, like I want the defense to be there. They're like, 'You mean delay?' And I'm like, 'Yes, I think so.'
Lafleur was more frank about Alexander's blunder.
“That was a big mistake,” LaFleur said. “That's something you review with the players before they go out there every time about 'Hey, we've won the toss, we're going to postpone.' I went to the officials before the game to make sure they knew what we were going to do. We had an incident earlier this year where We faced a similar situation, so we always try to be proactive in this approach.
Alexander, who has not played since early November, is not usually a team captain. It is unclear why he served in that role on Sunday. Lafleur did not give a clear answer. When asked if Alexander was added as a leader for the game by the coaches or by Alexander himself, LaFleur simply said: “Yes.”
After Sunday, Lafleur may never make Alexandre captain again – unless he agrees to say the magic word to the referee after winning the toss.
Or nothing at all.
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