Around the NFC South (expanded edition)


It's been a pretty busy day around the NFC South, so let's take a look across the division.

Mike Triplett writes the Saints will bring in veteran running back Ladell Betts for a workout. Sean Payton said that’s not related to Pierre Thomas’ wrist injury. I think Triplett’s on the mark when he says the Saints are just bringing Betts in to update their scouting report and have a file on him in case there are any emergencies. From everything I saw and heard when I was in New Orleans, the Saints are quite happy with the running back stable of Thomas, Reggie Bush, Lynell Hamilton and P.J. Hill.

The good news for the Saints is X-rays showed no break in Thomas’ wrist. He didn’t practice Wednesday, but Payton said he anticipates Thomas returning within a few days.

I live in Tampa and I think I heard shouts of joy in the streets as I was driving home from the airport a few hours ago. That’s because Raheem Morris said rookie defensive tackle Brian Price "wrecked practice." It’s something for a fan base that hasn’t had much to be excited about recently. But, as Wolf Heard writes, Price and fellow rookie Gerald McCoy are only rookies and some early glimpses don’t mean they’re on their way to Pro Football Hall of Fame. But, hey, it’s a start.

Tampa Bay’s Keydrick Vincent got some work with the first-team offense at left guard. I don’t like to make predictions generally, but I feel strongly about this one, so I’ll make an exception. I think Vincent will be starting ahead of Jeremy Zuttah, who had a rough season last year.

Interesting sight when Tampa Bay worked on its goal-line offense. Defensive tackle Roy Miller got some work at fullback. I like the idea. Starting fullback Earnest Graham is a heck of a player, but he’s a bit undersized. Putting someone like Miller in front of Cadillac Williams in those situations could be a smart move.

Atlanta running back Michael Turner said he’d like to be more of a receiving threat out of the backfield. Well, any improvement there would be significant because Turner has caught only 22 passes in his career. Yeah, we may see Turner get a few more catches. But his job is to run the ball and he’ll be carrying a heavy load. Besides, I’m much rather see Jerious Norwood on the field when the Falcons decide to throw to a running back.

My good friend, Daniel Cox, has a story on how cornerback Dominique Franks, a fifth-round draft choice, is turning heads in Atlanta’s camp.

A bit of concerning news out of Carolina’s camp. Right tackle Jeff Otah, who had been unable to practice since the start of camp, had arthroscopic surgery on his knee Wednesday. The Panthers still are optimistic Otah will be ready for the start of the regular season. When a player who has been recovering from an injury goes back and has a scope, I think it’s safe to call that a setback. Geoff Schwartz has been practicing in Otah’s place and the Panthers think he’s a decent player. But he’s not the massive force that Otah is.