By: Bob George/
December 16, 2003

No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski not at the start of the team's OTA's today
NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates

Back in the days when you didn't hate the Jets, they had a rock solid constant for 18 seasons. Kicker Pat Leahy, who came to the Jets with as much anonymity as Ken O'Brien, enjoyed a long career as a reliable and steady placekicker. From 1974 to 1991, Leahy saw the highs of the Sack Exchange era as well as the lows of nine total wins from 1975 to 1977. Leahy steps into one and it drives the receiver all the way back to a yard deep in the end zone. He's gonna try and run it out.

Twelve wins. First Patriot team to ever win that many.

If the 11-3 Patriots of 1976 had a 16-game schedule, betcha they win at least one of the two extra games.

Regarding that big Celtics trade, Paul Pierce called Ricky Davis "misunderstood".

Oh, terrific. So were Carl Everett and Oil Can Boyd.

Look up and down the Patriot roster and see if you find anyone who is "misunderstood".

Just for fun, this writer watched The Jack Del Rio show Sunday morning before the network pregame. Great show, lots of fun, and Del Rio is definitely a handsome man with a magnetic personality.

But the show never broached the subject of "how Jacksonville intends to beat the Patriots on Sunday". The Patriots were mentioned only once, in passing. Did Del Rio know what was coming?

Bill Belichick sure did.

Mike Shanahan will be crucified if Clinton Portis is hurt, thanks to a run in overtime that never should have happened. You have Jason Elam, kick the darned field goal and don't wait.

What a terrific sight it was to see Baltimore lose at Oakland.

Don't be surprised if the Divisional Round opponent of the Patriots, assuming they do nail down at least the two seed, turns out to be the Bengals.

Beating the Colts at Indy may not have been enough. They could sneak in at 13-3 and get as high as a one seed.

Nice win on the road, Vikes. Now hold serve at home against Kansas City, please.

Oddity: The remainder of the Patriot schedule is all on Saturdays.

Geek of the week: Joe Horn scores a touchdown, runs for the turnbuckle at the base of the goal post, pulls out a cell phone, and makes like Shannon Sharpe in 1996. The NFL and Jim Haslett plan to fine him. He deserves worse.

In the post-Dan Reeves era, Michael Vick is 0-1.

Hooray for our troops in capturing Saddam Hussein. Not only does that hopefully speed up the end of the war over in Iraq, but it cut the CBS pregame show in half. That sure felt good. Make that permanent and we'll all jump for joy.

It's time for Larry Centers to retire. See you in Canton in five years, but get goin'. Now.

Take away all dropped touchdowns and the Patriots win 34-27.

Ken Walter was brought back, and it wasn't for his punting. Was it, Adam?

Does any teeny-weeny part of Curtis Martin wish he were still back in Foxborough?

With Lawyer Milloy, it's more than just teeny-weeny.

The 2003 Patriots are so good, they held Jacksonville at bay until they finally woke up and got their act into full gear. Even with their "B" or "C" defense, they're one tough team.

It's sickening to watch the New York Giants.

Really. You expect this from teams like Detroit and Arizona, but not from the G-Men.

If you could choose between Clinton Portis or Jamal Lewis, who would you take?

Sure sign of trouble: Chad Pennington connects on 14 of his first 15 passes next Saturday night.

Back to school: You take the BCS. I'll take the Rose Bowl, and she will be resplendent on New Year's Day with Pete Carroll's USC squad going against one of Yours Truly's own, Michigan.

It's nice to see Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel keep their rookie mistakes to a minimum.

We know Steve McNair was hurt, but God help the Titans if they had lost at home to Buffalo.

Honk if you were rooting for Sunday's snowstorm to hurry up and begin.

Wow. This Saturday's Patriots-Jets tussle is the 200th ESPN NFL telecast.

You of course know that the Patriots were on telecast number one in 1987, in the same crib, against the prime tenants of Giants Stadium.

And you have to give a lot of credit to Mike Patrick and his crew, they are the best.

And CBS's crews, except for maybe Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms, always seem to come off as totally stupid and completely ignorant of the Patriots. Listen to Randy Cross from last week's snow extravaganza and you'll agree.

The more people continue to ignore Tom Brady as one of the NFL's finest, the better.

And that goes for the rest of the Patriot team. They play at their best when they're disrespected and/or overlooked.

Remember him: He was Joe Willie's backup in Super Bowl III, and like Brady, he has a ring. We know him as Number 15, Babe Parilli, who used to sling 'em to the Duke with regularity in those good ol' AFL days.

Why do people still think that the Miami Dolphins are an elite organization?

Did you catch Paul Tagliabue's new idea of two Monday night contests next year, to help prevent lousy matchups involving last year's best teams? Parity's nice, but it exacts a price.

Here's a nice suggestion: On those "dud games", tell Al Michaels to stay at home and bring back Don Meredith to shoot the breeze with John Madden.

Our sincere thanks to Tom Curran of the Providence Journal-Bulletin for chatting with all the good people who frequent A class act by a class guy.

Here's hoping that the chatting continues all the way into February.