Time for an evening run through a whole bunch of news, notes and observations from all corners of the NFC South, including two guys on a beach in California.
Mark Bradley’s wondering aloud why there’s not a lot of buzz about the Falcons. He lives in Atlanta and has a better feel for local moods, but I find the lack of excitement about the Falcons a little strange. They’re coming off a 13-3 season and they added receiver Julio Jones and defensive end Ray Edwards. If that doesn’t excite fans, what will?
Speaking of excitement or lack thereof, no big surprise here. Tampa Bay’s Saturday night home game against Miami will not be a sellout. That means the game cannot air live on local television.
My friends Mike Triplett and James Varney make it look like sports writers have a more glamorous life than we really do. But, even while they’re on the beach in California, they’re talking about the depth on New Orleans’ offensive line. Varney brings up a good point about how the promotion of Zach Strief to the starting job at right tackle leaves the Saints without a jack-of-all-trades backup. There’s hope that Matt Tennant can play the three interior positions and second-year pro Charles Brown can be an adequate backup tackle.
Carolina tackle Jeff Otah will miss Thursday night’s exhibition in Cincinnati with a knee injury. The Panthers remain optimistic Otah will be ready for the start of the regular season. But this one is worth keeping an eye on because Otah missed all of last season with a knee problem. With a healthy Otah, Carolina has a chance to have a very good offensive line. Without him, there’s a huge drop off.
An update to the previous item we had on Tampa Bay linebacker Mason Foster getting fined for his hit on New England’s Chad Ochocinco. The amount of the fine is now being reported as $20,000 and Foster’s agent says he will appeal the fine.
Here’s some audio of me talking about the Bucs and tattoos with Ronnie “Night Train’’ Lane and Tom Krasniqi on ESPN Tampa Bay Radio (1040 AM).