By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

Before revealing this week's truths, I figured you might enjoy reading some of the random e-mails I have received from fans of the column.

Whitlock,
Man, I just wanted to thank you for working out with me over the summer. Your workout routine has really made the difference for me this year. I'm making more big plays than ever. Coach Gibbs asked me this week if you would share your exercise and diet program with the whole team.

-- Santana

J-Whizzle,
My dogz on "Countdown" wanted me to give you a big boo-yah for that mad science you drop every week. Dog, you are as cool as the other side of the pillow. Nobody knows more about football than you.

-- Stu

Big J,
Thanks for talking with my team at halftime. It really gave us a lift, and the defensive adjustments you suggested really seemed to slow down Brett. Hey, I'm working on those Super Bowl tickets. It's a little tougher now, but I'll still hook you up.

-- Mike

Jason,
I see you're just like all the rest -- a liar. You told me you were done with Halle and that I was the only one bootylicious enough for you. How many times are you going to break my heart? We need to talk this weekend while you're in California for the Chiefs game. I still owe you a foot massage.

-- Beyonce

Here are the 10 truths from Week 7:

10. Marty Schottenheimer's coaching tombstone: "The NFL's best coach Monday thru Saturday."

Ahead of the Eagles 17-13 with 3:30 to play and handed the ball at the Philly 30 because of a ridiculous Andy Reid fourth-down go-for-it. Schottenheimer ran LaDainian Tomlinson three straight times and settled for a field-goal attempt that wouldn't have iced the game.

It's still a one possession game -- with Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens taking the field with more than two minutes to play -- if Nick Kaeding's kick sails through the uprights.

I laughed out loud when the kick was blocked and returned for a touchdown. I used to feel sorry for Marty, but now he's just a Sunday afternoon comedy routine.

Was Marty blacked out on the sideline while Philly was totally shutting down LT all afternoon? When will Marty learn that settling for field goals is the No. 1 reason he's the modern-day Chuck Knox?

9. Mike Sherman basically offered an on-field resignation when he instructed Brett Favre to hand the ball to Tony Fisher on third-and-2 in the final minute of Green Bay's loss to the Vikings.

Tony Fisher? Favre has just zipped you down the field with his right arm, you're in position to put the Vikings away and climb into the NFC North race, and you hand the ball to a guy who until that moment had 21 yards on 13 carries for the entire season?

The Packers still might win the North, the division is that bad, but Sherman cannot be retained for next season.

Why do football coaches, more than any other coaches, believe so strongly in the element of surprise? Seriously, could you imagine Michael Jordan hitting five of his last six shots and Phil Jackson drawing up a play for Bill Cartwright for the game-winner?

8. Note to Brian Billick: Plea-bargaining and snitching your way out of a major criminal case is good for football. Sitting in prison for four months during the offseason is bad for football.

Have we cleared that up?

There's a big difference between Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis. Ray was scared straight. Jamal is just plain scared. Hitting the hole loses its appeal when you've spent much of the offseason in lockdown with Avon, Wee-Bey, Shamrock and Bird.

Billick needs to put Jamal on the bench and play Chester Taylor. I've seen less tiptoeing at a ballet than what Jamal is doing on a week-to-week basis for the Ravens. Given Baltimore's quarterback situation, the Ravens can't afford to allow Jamal to conquer his fears on the field.

7. For those of you who missed Kansas City's Friday Night Lights victory over the Dolphins, you didn't miss anything remotely impressive.

Had the Dolphins chosen to play a quarterback with Division I talent, they would've pounded the Chiefs. In a league with Joey Harrington, J.P. Losman, Kyle Orton, AnthonyKyle BollerWright and Michael Vick, Gus Frerotte is the worst passing QB in professional football.

Kansas City's defense was miserable in a 30-20 Chiefs victory, but Frerotte bailed out KC's defenders by underthrowing and overthrowing open receivers all evening. Something tells me Drew Brees won't have that problem this weekend.

6. The Pittsburgh Steelers did not expose the Bengals as frauds.

Look, I'm not sold on the Bengals. I expect the Packers to beat Cincy this weekend. But Cincy's loss to Pittsburgh was in no way lopsided or an indication that the Steelers are significantly superior to the Bengals.

The Bengals lost the game in the first quarter when they scored three points instead of 14. Cincy lost a touchdown when the refs overturned a Chad Johnson TD grab. Then Chris Henry dropped an easy TD catch. The Bengals wound up missing a short field goal on the drive.

Cincy's next possession stalled out deep in Pittsburgh territory and the Bengals booted a field goal. Had the Bengals jumped ahead 14-0 or 10-0, they would've beaten the Steelers.

Bottom line: The Bengals are not Super Bowl threats yet. But they are a good football team.

5. Next season the NFL should change its kickoff rules and allow blockers on the receiving team to hold, as long as it's the front of the jersey.

Too many kickoff returns are ruined by holding penalties when the holding really has no impact on the return. Kickoff returns can be one of the most exciting plays in football.

Today's professional football players move too fast -- especially on kickoffs and punts -- for middle-aged referees to keep pace with the action. The refs are simply guessing on a lot of holding calls.

It's very difficult to hold on kickoffs. The players are moving too fast, the jerseys are too tight. A defender who allows himself to be held on kick coverage is doing a poor job.

4. Monday night I couldn't decide which was more embarrassing: Michael Vick's performance or Jim Mora's coaching.

Never has a team that produces four sacks, an interception, a 155-yard rusher and a 20-0 second-quarter lead been as unimpressive as the Falcons were against the Jets.

Don't get me wrong. I liked everything about the Falcons except Vick and Mora. Vick simply cannot pass, and I couldn't figure out late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth why Mora was allowing Vick to attempt to throw the football.

The Jets could've easily rallied and won that game, thanks to Vick's Frerotte-like passing. If Vick ever plays quarterback in a Super Bowl, I'll be shocked.

The solution to Atlanta's No. 1 receiver problem spells his name M-I-C-H-A-E-L V-I-C-K.

3. Let me clarify something: The Indianapolis Colts have a chance at establishing themselves as the greatest team of the salary-cap era because there's a difference between being a great team and a great dynasty.

The New England Patriots, led by the best QB in football, are a great dynasty. This Colts team, led by the most talented QB in football, has a chance to be an all-time great team.

Let me spell it out for you: Tom Brady and the Patriots = Bill Russell and the Celtics; Peyton Manning and the Colts = Wilt Chamberlain and the '72 Lakers.

Obviously, this is all hypothetical as it relates to the Colts. They're going to be tested the last nine weeks of their season when they play six playoff-caliber teams. Indy (7-0) plays at New England, Cincinnati, Jacksonville and Seattle. The Colts host the Steelers and the Chargers.

If Indy goes 14-2 and wins the Super Bowl, then I'm comfortable calling them the best, most complete team of the salary-cap era.

On another clarifying note: I'm well aware Favre won a Super Bowl and played in another. I wrote last week that without Reggie White, Favre would not own a Super Bowl ring and a second Super Bowl appearance. Packers fans couldn't quite grasp that.

2. No matter the opponent -- USC, Virginia Tech -- the thing that might cost the most talented team in college football, the Texas Longhorns, in the national championship game is the weakness of the Big 12.

Texas hasn't been challenged since Sept. 10, when Ohio State made the Longhorns dig deep for a fourth-quarter victory. Texas' only close Big 12 contest has been a 25-point rout of Colorado. Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M -- the remaining schools on Texas' schedule -- will not prepare the Longhorns for the Rose Bowl.

USC still has to play Fresno State, California and UCLA. Va. Tech gets Boston College and Miami the next two weeks.

FYI: Vegas has made a rather large error with the Texas Tech-Baylor line (minus 11). Texas Tech is an awesome team when playing mediocre opponents, and Baylor is very mediocre. Don't be fooled by the Bears' record and close loss to a horrible Oklahoma squad.

*1. If anyone knows why Andy Reid insists on throwing the ball every play, please drop me an e-mail.

Donovan McNabb is banged up. Brian Westbrook is a solid running back. You don't win Super Bowls throwing on every down. I've spent three weeks trying to figure out why Andy Reid is imitating Mike Martz. Do you know?

Jason Whitlock is a regular columnist for The Kansas City Star. His newspaper is celebrating his 10 years as a columnist with the publishing of Jason's first book, "Love Him, Hate Him: 10 Years of Sports, Passion and Kansas City." It's a collection of Jason's most memorable, thought-provoking and funny columns over the past decade. You can purchase the book at TheKansasCityStore.com. Jason can be reached by e-mail at ballstate68@aol.com.




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