By: Bob George/
January 18, 2005

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

He kicked in two Super Bowls for the Dallas Cowboys, and holds the record for the shortest field goal in Super Bowl history (a nine-yarder to open the scoring in Super Bowl VI). Before that, Mike Clark kicked for the Steelers for four years after beginning his career in 1963 on the other side of the Keystone State. He didn't enjoy success until he left Pittsburgh for Big D; in his first two years as a Cowboy, he topped 100 points for the only times in his career. During his stay in Pittsburgh, he had only one decent year, 1966, when he logged 97 points and hit on 65.6 percent of his field goals. Clark hits one straight on, and it comes down at about the three-yard line.

This question was posed to Jay Glazer on the Fox pregame: ”Who is the leading candidate for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job?”

His answer: "If the Patriots lose (Sunday), Romeo Crennel will be hired within 24-48 hours.”

The trouble is, they never came back with "But what if the Patriots win?”

Which helps explain why Patriot Nation feels extra happy right now.

Here's a neat poll for you: Who don't you want in the Super Bowl? Randy Moss? Terrell Owens?

Let's see how Michael Vick does against a real defense.

That said, he's still one awfully scary critter.

Steeler fans will conveniently ignore all week long that they are very, very lucky to even be playing this coming weekend.

They will not ignore Halloween, naturally.

Geek of the week: Patriot Nation sends its deepest thanks to its idiot kicker for a ton of inspiration. Signed, Willie McGinest.

There's loved players, and then there's beloved players. Is Tedy Bruschi now at the top of the "beloved” list?

Don't fire Tony Dungy. Don't fire Ron Meeks. Get them some players. Dwight Freeney cannot do it alone.

Patriots are already three-point favorites next weekend. Ugh. Last thing the Patriots need is for the other side to get fired up.

Because even though they gagged at home against the Jets, the Steelers are still a very good football team.

Did I see that right? Three Eagle defensive backs in the Pro Bowl? Yeesh.

That's why Vick will need to be smart as well as fast.

When's the last time both conference championship games were one seed versus two seed?

Thank goodness all the 8-8 chaff is gone from the NFC.

Speaking of 8-8 chaff, if you are a Viking fan and watched Randy Moss walk off the field on that botched fake field goal, get fitted for a paper bag and wear it over your head until training camp. It was the mother of all embarrassments.

Are the Rams the Colts of the NFC, where it's offense first and ignore the defense? Oh, and they both play indoors.

The difference between the two teams? At least Dungy can coach.

Back to school: Three huzzahs for Matt Leinart, who'll be a Trojan for one more year.

Welcome to playoff football, Corey Dillon. Like it so far?

Next week is when Dillon puts his rubber stamp on his first Patriot season. Remember, he was out trick or treating instead of playing last time in Pittsburgh.

Okay, he wasn't trick or treating. Poor attempt at humour.

If Bill Belichick and Crennel can turn Randall Gay into a Ty Law clone, then I want them to come to my house and touch my Ford Explorer and turn it into a Cadillac Escalade.

Then touch my house and turn it into Curt Schilling's Medfield palace (Drew Bledsoe's former estate).

Belichick should have plenty of film fodder to deal better with Ben Roethlisberger next weekend.

Hold your head up, Doug Brien. Your coaching staff let your team down, not you.

So you're no Adam Vinatieri. Few kickers are. Come back next year with a short memory.

Attention Patriot Nation: Your assignment this week is to head for every Atlanta Falcon website and learn as much as you can about their players. And we're talking about first and last names, not schemes or tendencies. Come February, you'll thank us.

Cold Hard Football Facts had a killer article on why Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning. Read the article thoroughly, it will help you enjoy Manning's "Cut that meat!” commercial a lot better.

Remember him: Yes, he was once a Patriot, believe it or not. In the early days of the Steel Curtain, one of the down linemen next to Mean Joe Greene was one Ernie Holmes. He and Greene, along with Dwight White and L.C. Greenwood, formed perhaps the best defensive line of the 1970s. Holmes ended his seven-year NFL career in Foxborough in 1978 after six stellar years and two Vinces with the Steelers. He played three games for the Patriots, then retired. Steeler fans will never view Holmes as a Patriot, and you can't blame them. He and Greene were the most dominant inside force in the NFL in their day.

The Rams and Vikings make a good case for a new rule called "Minimum number of wins needed to qualify for the playoffs”. It'll never happen, of course, but it's a nice thought.

And now, our rhyming predictions for the conference finals, which should be two very good games.

Michael Vick now heads for the Linc.

He knows he needs more than his speed, we think.

Still no T.O., these are the facts.

Vick, not McNabb, make the trip to Jax.

Trick or treat, how else to explain

The end of the 21-game Patriot reign.

It's comeuppance time for a guy named Big Ben

And Bill B sends Bill C home a loser once again.