- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let’s weigh in on some stories of note around the NFC South.
Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen sounds like he’s accepting his role as the No. 3 quarterback as well as anyone could hope. That’s great and it’s really the only way Clausen can handle things in the short term. But, with Cam Newton in place as the starter, Clausen really has no future in Carolina. The best thing that can happen for him is for the Panthers to let him go after the season. If Clausen is going to ever have a chance to be a starter, he needs a fresh start. But I think it’s safe to cross Denver off the list of possible landing spots. I don’t see Clausen or Denver coach John Fox wanting a reunion.
Newton is averaging a league-high 10.3 air yards per pass. You have to respect the way the Panthers are letting the rookie quarterback use his strong arm. It helps that Newton has a downfield threat like Steve Smith.
Mike Triplett reports that the Saints could touch base with Tom Condon, the agent for Drew Brees, this weekend. The Saints are playing in St. Louis and Condon is based in Missouri. Brees’ contract is up after this season and the sides have been talking off and on and no deal appears to be close. It might be time to get down to business. Everyone wants the same thing – Brees back in New Orleans – and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to let this situation drag on all season.
New Orleans coach Sean Payton won’t reveal whether he or offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael will call the plays Sunday. Like it matters? The Saints are playing the winless Rams.
Stephen Holder writes that any thoughts of a rift between Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman and tight end Kellen Winslow are off base. He’s right. The two spent the offseason working out together and built a very strong bond. Winslow got a reputation for being a selfish player early in his career. But he’s pretty much been a model teammate since coming to Tampa Bay.