By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

Boo,

I just wanted to say I enjoyed our time together this summer. I know it's football season and we won't get our normal amount of cuddle time.

XOXOX,

Beyonce


Baby,

I'm going to miss our Sunday nights on the couch. Do you have to go back to work?

Paris


Big Sexy,

Can't wait to tailgate with you this weekend at Arrowhead! Lord, child, can't wait to sink my teeth into that Gates long end. They can have "The View." It's football season!

Star Jones


Here are my 10 NFL Truths for Week 1:

10. Brett Favre is completely jealous of Steve McNair and already regrets his return to the Green Bay Packers.

I'd love to tell Packers fans that I take little delight in Favre's admission on Bob Costas' HBO show that he'd consider playing in another city, but that'd be dishonest. There's nothing I love more than a good I-told-you-so.

Brett Favre
Mike Roemer/AP Photo
Brett Favre could very well enjoy a record-breaking 2007.

Favre wants out of Green Bay. He wants to be in the same position as McNair, who left Tennessee and now has a chance to lead a playoff-caliber Baltimore team to the Super Bowl.

I don't blame Favre. He deserves an opportunity to go out on a high note. By dragging out his retirement decision all winter and into the spring, Favre gave the Packers a clear indication that he wanted to be traded. He just didn't want to be the bad guy and demand a trade.

I picked up on the signals. Why didn't Green Bay's front office? Because Ted Thompson, Green Bay's general manager, is a moron who is so afraid of the truth that he probably doesn't read this column. If your NFL general manager doesn't have this column bookmarked, it's a sure sign that your team is in trouble.

Favre told Costas: "If it comes to a point where they [the Packers] do start over, and I feel like I can play and they say, 'Brett, if you want to go somewhere else, go ahead, but we've got to start over, it's time for us to rebuild. It just doesn't make sense, so do what you want.' If I got the itch at some point, I can't say no."

Favre then told Wisconsin reporters: "Would I consider playing for someone else? I guess I would. Do I think that'll happen? I'm 99.9 percent sure that that won't happen. So, that's it."

Yeah, Favre is 99.9 percent sure the Packers are too stupid to let go of the Brett Favre money train and try to properly rebuild the franchise.

The Packers should trade Favre now, while his value is still relatively high. If they stick him out there for 16 games with their terrible offensive line, Favre's 2007 value will plummet. Had he been on the market this past offseason, playoff contenders such as the Dolphins, Ravens, Broncos and Redskins all would've made plays for Favre's services.

Now the Packers will have to wait for a starter to get injured before Favre has any real trade value. Right now, at this very moment, Favre only makes sense in one city: Chicago.

9. It's difficult for me to see Rex Grossman surviving as Chicago's starter beyond the Bears' initial lap around the NFC Central.

The Bears won't need Grossman to do all that much at Green Bay and against Detroit in the first two weeks of the season, but you cannot build legitimate playoff plans with Rex at quarterback.

Brian Griese will beat out Grossman before the midway point of the season, and I'm not sure you can build legitimate playoff plans with Griese at quarterback either. Griese is a terrific backup. He's good in spurts. He's good when he's not overexposed, when defenses don't game plan for him. Griese is just talented enough to make the critical error, the monster interception that gets returned for six points. He has more skill and more ego than to play the Trent Dilfer role of game manager.

This Sunday, Lovie Smith should take a long look at Favre and decide what he's willing to offer the Packers in exchange for the NFL legend right now.

8. The knock I have on Griese is really the same knock I have on Chris Simms and the Mannings. The best football players don't grow up with silver spoons in their mouths.

Eli Manning
Bill Kostroun/AP Photo
Eli's pedigree might not be such a good thing after all.

Football is totally different from baseball. Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. are the two best players -- OK, maybe Rickey Henderson was better -- of the past 30 years because their fathers were great players.

It doesn't work that way in football. Playing quarterback is the hardest thing to do in sports. It requires a mental and physical toughness that most rich kids simply cannot develop.

I'm not calling Griese, Simms or the Mannings wimps. They are not. But there are levels of toughness, and they'll never be as tough as southern good-ol' boys such as Favre and McNair. You have to miss a meal or two or wear your cousin's old clothes to be as mentally tough as Favre and McNair.

I expect Eli to outperform Peyton this Sunday, just because the little brother is going to play with more of a chip on his shoulder. Eli is tired of always being in Peyton's shadow.

7. I disagree with Indianapolis Star columnist/hell-raiser Bob Kravitz, who suggested this week that this should be a make-or-break season for Tony Dungy with the Colts.

Kravitz said the heat isn't really on Dungy because Dungy is the nicest man in pro sports. The heat isn't totally on Dungy because the media justifiably put much of the blame for Indy's playoff failures on Peyton Manning and offensive coordinator Tom Moore.

Sometimes this column comes off like I have a problem with Peyton. I really don't. He's a terrific young man, and any dad would be proud to claim him as a son. But Indy's offensive malfunctions in the playoffs must be dumped on Manning's and Moore's shoulders. They are totally responsible for Indy's offense.

Dungy was hired as head coach to fix Indy's defense. He's done that. He has stayed out of the way when it comes to the Colts' offense. He's allowed Manning to stand at the line of scrimmage and orchestrate the offense.

Now, I think that's a mistake. Once Manning starts getting hit, it's impossible for him to outthink a defensive coordinator who is sitting in a comfortable press box. But can Dungy take that responsibility away from Manning without getting shredded by the media and fans?

Moore should be fired if the Colts' offense implodes again in the playoffs.

6. Memo to the media: Hurricane Katrina did not make the New Orleans Saints more interesting.

The Saints still stink as a franchise. No one cares about the Saints. They're not going to rebuild New Orleans. Reggie Bush won't do much behind New Orleans' awful offensive line. Drew Brees will have a mediocre year. And Sean Payton is not the next Bill Parcells.

Are we clear on this? I'm putting all the TV networks on notice. Don't force-feed me Saints stories because of Hurricane Katrina. I care about New Orleans rebuilding and recovering. I don't care about the worst-run franchise in the NFL.

5. I still have high expectations for Al Saunders and the Redskins' offense.

A lot of people are jumping off the Redskins bandwagon because Washington's first-team offense didn't score a point in the preseason. I'm not jumping.

Saunders, Washington's new offensive coordinator, is a glory hound, and I didn't like the way he exited Kansas City. He basically accused Lamar Hunt of reneging on a pledge to name him successor to Dick Vermeil. I don't believe Hunt or general manager Carl Peterson ever made that pledge.

Having said all of that, Saunders knows how to coordinate an offense. The Redskins will score points with or without Clinton Portis. Washington has a capable backup running back in Ladell Betts, a talented receiving corps, a solid offensive line and an experienced quarterback.

I'll be shocked if the Redskins don't score 30 points on "Monday Night Football."

4. Don't be fooled by Cincinnati's spectacular preseason. There are still significant problems in Bengals land.

Marvin Lewis
David Kohl/AP Photo
Maybe Marvin should set up a court at the Bengals' practice facility, like the Eagles had at the Vet?

I hope I'm wrong. I hope the problems in Cincy's cell block -- oops, I mean locker room -- don't undermine the good work Marvin Lewis has done. But I think they will, along with some major holes on Cincy's defense.

In an effort to take the focus off the police blotter, Lewis' Bengals outscored their exhibition opponents by a whopping 77 points and completed the unofficial season 4-0. Big deal.

The Bengals don't have a real playmaker in their front four. Teams will run on Cincinnati. The Bengals' linebacking corps is suspect. I've never been all that impressed with Cincy's corners. But Dexter Jackson and Madieu Williams are a major upgrade at safety. Laurel and Hardy played safety for Cincy last season.

I'm hardheaded. The Bengals have a shot at 6-10.

3. You have to give NFL marketers a lot of credit. The Charlotte Observer exposes the 2004 Carolina Panthers as steroids cheaters and the NFL instantly announces it will "strengthen" its drug-testing policy.

Roger Goodell wants no part of being called in front of Congress and having to explain why 260-pound men run 4.6 40s and 300-pounders have less than 10 percent body fat.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Goodell and the NFL have a hand in Barry Bonds' recent power surge. The NFL wants the steroids spotlight back where it belongs: Bonds' forehead, not NFL forearms.

2. For those of you who have forgotten, I dabble in an occasional college football truth in this column. I fully expect Texas to slap the (spit) out of Ohio State this weekend, especially now that Jim Tressel doesn't have the guts to admit he voted his own team No. 1.

Northern Illinois moved the football on Ohio State last week. And I'm supposed to believe Texas is going to have a problem scoring points? No sir. Texas wins by two touchdowns.

Also, look for my Ball State boys to notch a Big Ten victory -- OK, it's Indiana, so it shouldn't really count -- in a major shootout (take the over) at the lil' big house in Muncie. My Cardinals have the new Ben Roethlisberger: freshman Nate Davis.

1. My theory on why Al Davis cut my boy Jeff George: Jeff performed so well in practice that Al was afraid Randy Moss would demand that George replace Aaron Brooks as the starting quarterback.

Even at 38, Jeff is too talented to be a backup. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Jason Whitlock is a regular columnist for The Kansas City Star. He can be reached by e-mail at ballstate68@aol.com. Sound off to Page 2 here.




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