Around the NFC South

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
7:47
AM ET
Time for a look at the top Tuesday morning headlines from around the NFC South.

Former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira says the replay assistant made the right call in spotting the ball on a critical overtime play in the game between Atlanta and New Orleans. Officials ruled on the field that Atlanta fullback Mike Cox had gotten the first down. But the replay assistant reviewed the play and the call was reversed. The ball was spotted inches short of the first down. I looked at the replay again several times Monday night and thought Cox had the first down, or at least that there was not indisputable evidence to change the initial call. But Pereira knows a lot more about the rules than I do.

Although Carolina’s special teams have been struggling, coach Ron Rivera came to the defense of special teams coordinator Brian Murphy on Monday. Rivera said he’s satisfied with the job Murphy has been doing and pointed to a series of injuries that has forced Carolina to use lots of different players on special teams as the main reason for the problems.

Bradley Handwerger has his bye-week report card on the Saints. They got good, but not great, grades. I’d say that’s pretty accurate based on the first 10 games. The Saints have been good, but they definitely haven’t been perfect.

Coach Raheem Morris has been taking the blame for Tampa Bay’s struggles. But his players now are coming out and saying they deserve the blame. Either way, the Bucs are going to be practicing harder. The new labor deal limits the amount of times a team can practice in pads during the season. But the Bucs are going to put the pads on this week in an effort to try to become more physical. It can’t hurt.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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