By: Bob George/
September 13, 2005

Patriots’ Malcolm Mitchell happy with rehab progress
Free agent WR Eric Decker says he would be 'good fit' with Patriots
Man charged with robbing Gronkowski's home arraigned
Buckley: What will Tom Brady do when he retires from football?
Tom Brady teases with Instagram comment

This kicks off our fourth season of midweek pro football potpourri articles. This column was formerly known as "As The Ball Bounces”.

New season, new series name, same old NFL. We bestow the kickoff honors to the man who gave new meaning to the word "wide right”, and we don't mean Scott Norwood. We instead mean the only kicker in the history of the Carolina Panthers, whose final kickoff in Super Bowl XXXVIII gave the Patriots the ball at their own 40, helping make Tom Brady's job much easier, which in turn made Adam Vinatieri's job easier. John Kasay's flawed kickoff is not an adequate testimonial to his fine career, as the stout left-footed kicker is one of the best in the business. He booms one out of the end zone, and we begin this season at our own 20.

Figurative metaphors? At least those Patriot offensive linemen know what the term means.

Trouble is, the higher Tom Brady's star rises, the more he needs that kind of protection when he goes out on the town.

CBS's Boomer Esiason had this one nailed: "I'm not happy that the New York Giants are playing nine home games this year!”

At least they reached an agreement for the Saints to play four home games at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. It's a huge stadium, it's close to New Orleans, and the right thing to do. Three other home games will be in San Antonio. At least no other home games turn into road games.

In case you forgot: In 1989, following the famous Loma Prieta earthquake which delayed the Bay Area World Series that year, the Patriots had a game against the 49ers moved to Stanford Stadium in nearby Palo Alto. They didn't move that game to Foxborough. Yes, different circumstances here versus Katrina, but the feeling is that better accommodations could have been made for the Saints for Week Two.

Fast becoming the most enjoyable local expert on the Patriots? You see him all the time on New England Sports Tonight and hear him on The Score in Providence.

Let's hear Andy Gresh's take on Richard Seymour: "If I'm a guard lined up opposite Seymour, and he's in the three-technique, and I'm matched up one-on-one against Seymour…I start crapping my pants!”

Geek of the Week: You'll have to wait until December. But the Patriots will make Jonathan Vilma pay for his opinion on the odds of a Patriot three-peat. After seeing his team cut a stinker Sunday at Kansas City, if this is a true measure of the 2005 Jets, you can put the odds on the Jets winning the whole thing in the billions.

Nice to hear Damien Woody finally realizing what all that money bought him in woebegone Detroit.

Let's go and pay him a visit if his old team plays there in February.

Your work is just beginning, Romeo Crennel.

Honk if you wish Buffalo would keep the uniforms they wore on Sunday permanently.

What an uplifting effort by the Saints in Charlotte. The first of many road games for that team this year, of course.

It's just Week One, but this could be the story of the year in the NFL. It certainly will be a top story on an ongoing basis week to week.

The more you think of it, the more you might like the Patriots to go to a 4-3 defense this year.

Ben Roethlisberger did a nice job of shaking off the horrible end to last year and getting back to his 15-1 ways.

No two ways about it. The Jets just plain stunk in their opener.

Or perhaps Kansas City really is that good.

How many people picked Minnesota as the NFC entrant into Super Bowl XL?

If Warren Sapp isn't really retiring after all, Ted Washington should sit him down and do something to shut him up.

Back to school: Looks like Charlie Weis is off to a good start in South Bend. The bad thing about this 2-0 start is that the alumni are going to assume that 2-0 means that 11-0 is imminent.

Back to school II: Vince Young of Texas has to be the early favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

Drew Bledsoe's first offensive series as a Cowboy ended in what Joe Buck called "a Quincy Carter mistake”. Ugly beginning.

Bledsoe's final stats: 18 of 24, 226 yards, three TDs, zero picks, 143.4 passer rating. So much for ugly beginning.

The tragedy in New Orleans has overshadowed another tragedy in San Francisco. The 49ers won their opener for the late Thomas Herrion, wearing his number 72 on their helmets.

New uniforms, same old Cardinals.

Sooner or later, local Boston media outlets will wake up and take notice when they realize that a blogger (Mike Reiss, and yes, he does a lot more than just blog) and a Providence guy (Tom Curran) are the top media sources for anything Patriots in the region.

Oh, wait. The Red Sox are still playing. And leading their division. How dare we forget.

Um, how many points did Miami score against Denver?

The Raiders will find out eventually that LaMont Jordan is the real deal, while Kerry Collins is not.

Fortunately, Randy Moss can catch anything thrown in his general direction.

Remember him: The Panthers remember Collins. Unfortunately, it's not for leading them to the 1996 NFC Championship Game. Yes, Collins did make it to Super Bowl XXXV, but he lost 34-7 to a very inferior quarterback (okay, to be fair, we know all about what the Ravens defense did in that game also). Collins may have to win a Super Bowl to fully eradicate his disgraced departure from Carolina. Most NFL players would rather never exist on this planet than to be labeled as a quitter.

Stephen Neal's alma mater, Cal State-Bakersfield, is going Division I. In basketball and swimming and wrestling, not football. CSUB may never get a football program. Being a pro football player and a Roadrunner, Neal may be the most unique NFL player in recent memory.

What if Kyle Boller ever becomes even just a decent quarterback?

Jeremiah Trotter should be fined by his own team for being suckered into a pregame ejection at the hands of a backup cornerback.

Sad to learn of the passing of a true football broadcasting pioneer. Chris Schenkel died Sunday morning, the man who called the 1958 NFL Championship Game, numerous college football classics, and was the anchor for a good chunk of Olympic coverage as well. He was also a comforting voice astride many a bowling alley over the years.

New Orleans has overshadowed still another tragedy. Sunday was the fourth anniversary of the day the planes slammed into the WTC and the Pentagon. For the first time since that dark day, the tributes and remembrances seemed to be ordinary rather than extraordinary. Not that anyone forgets that horrid day, mind you.

No one will forget what happened to the Gulf Coast, either. What the Saints did was remarkable. But the real remarkable stuff is still down the road, with a long time to go until it gets here.

So, enjoy your life, but remember those who either lost their life or have no life. They need a lot more than Saint victories.