How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch

September, 15, 2010
9/15/10
2:02
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Sam Baker, Falcons offensive tackle. The jury’s been out on this guy pretty much since he was drafted because of health issues. But Baker was healthy Sunday and he was called for a key penalty and didn’t do much as a blocker. He’s really going to have to step up if he truly wants to be the franchise left tackle that was drafted to protect franchise quarterback Matt Ryan.

2. Matt Moore, Panthers quarterback. He threw three interceptions against the Giants. He practiced Wednesday after suffering a concussion. Just hoping he’s not risking anything by perhaps rushing to return quickly because Jimmy Clausen is waiting in the wings.

3. Mike Mularkey, Falcons offensive coordinator. Yeah, the Steelers have a great defense. But when you’ve got Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner and Roddy White, you should be able to get into the end zone.

[+] EnlargeJosh Freeman
Kim Klement/US PresswireJosh Freeman recorded a pair of TD passes in the Buccaneers' season-opening win.
RISING

1. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers quarterback. He led the Bucs back from a 14-3 deficit by throwing two late touchdown passes. Yes, it was against Cleveland, but this was a big step for a young quarterback and a young team.

2. Heath Evans, Saints fullback. A healthy Evans is a big lift for the New Orleans offense because he can run, block and catch. Guard Carl Nicks is getting a lot of credit for throwing the key block on Pierre Thomas’ touchdown run. Nicks did throw a great block, but Evans also had a nice block on that play.

3. Ronde Barber, Buccaneers cornerback. People keep wanting to say this guy is done. But the veteran had a huge interception return against Cleveland to set up a touchdown.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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