Your thoughts on indispensables

August, 23, 2010
8/23/10
6:24
PM ET
It’s been a very slow news day around the NFC South (unless you care that Raheem Morris has a stomach virus, the Bucs might bring back Jevan Snead or the Saints put P.J. Hill on the injured-reserve list -- and my editors don’t). I’ve been using much of Monday afternoon to work on some season preview stuff that’s due later this week and will be running over the next couple of weeks.

But I just took a look at the mailbag and you guys did a good job filling it up with your opinions on the most indispensable player for each NFC South team. I asked for your thoughts earlier. My list of indispensable players will run Thursday, so I can’t share my thoughts yet.

That’s why I thought it might be a good idea to throw out some of your responses. Again, my official list might be different on some or all of these guys, but there were some very good answers in the mailbag. So here’s a sample of one response per team.

PANTHERS

Keith in Schafter, Calif. writes: Steve Smith by far is the most indispensable player on Carolina's roster. They have absolutely no proven depth behind him and we all learned from the Panther's season last year how easy it is to disrupt their run-first offense when they cannot get him the ball.

SAINTS

Chris in Camanche, Iowa writes: The loss of Jonathan Vilma for any length of time would be a major blow to the defense. He has been the key to the turnaround since he arrived. With the Saints' lack of depth/experience across the linebacker positions, losing Vilma would be the biggest blow to the weakest link.

FALCONS

Akonz in Alabama writes: I'm going to stick with the Falcons, as I know them very well. Indispensable means that they're probably a very good player, and not a quarterback. Top 5 would be Michael Turner, Curtis Lofton, Roddy White, Jonathan Babineaux, and Thomas DeCoud. Without Babs, our line is weak, and our CB's get picked apart. DeCoud is the last line of defense. Roddy is Matt Ryan's greatest option. Lofton is truly a great quarterback of the defense. And Turner is the wall that Matty Ice leans upon. I'm going to go with Lofton.

BUCCANEERS

Todd in Indiana writes: I would have to say the Bucs can least afford to lose Donald Penn. This past game proves that while he didn’t play great (I think he handled it correctly admitting he got beat and vowing to get better)it was very easy to see how important he is. I thought about Barrett Ruud but I think they could recover from his loss (he needs to step up if he wants a fat contract). Without Penn we could truly loose the most important player on the team.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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