Time for a run through the top headlines from around the NFC South.
Although it had been widely reported that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would hear appeals from New Orleans coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis on their suspensions Tuesday, Adam Schefter now reports the appeals might have to be pushed back.
Gerry Vaillancourt writes that making Bill Parcells interim head coach of the Saints would be a mistake. I’m already on the record saying I think putting Parcells in Payton’s place is a wise move. But I’ve known Gerry since our days together in Charlotte and always respect his opinions. His main argument is that going with Parcells would be a slight to the assistants currently on Payton’s staff. Point taken, but I’m not sure offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael is vocal enough to be a head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has experience as a head coach, but is new to the Saints and doesn’t know their personnel yet. But I’ll throw out one other scenario I could see making sense -- make Carmichael or Spagnuolo or even offensive line coach Aaron Kromer the head coach and bring Parcells on as a “special assistant." That’s what the Buccaneers did with Butch Davis. If Parcells isn’t coaching, the clock on his Hall of Fame candidacy doesn’t have to start all over. Plus, Parcells also has experience on the personnel side and that could come in handy when Loomis’ suspension begins at the start of the season.
Former Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino, currently the coach at the University of Arkansas, was injured in a motorcycle crash. Petrino reportedly is in stable condition.
Former New Orleans linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar has agreed to terms with the St. Louis Rams. Dunbar was a versatile and dependable backup, who wound up starting 14 games last year. I think the Saints wanted to keep him, but their salary-cap situation made that impossible.
As the Buccaneers opened their offseason program (they get a two-week head start because they made a coaching change), coach Greg Schiano said “Today marks the beginning of something." There’s no doubt about that because it’s the first time the players get to work with the new staff. But I also think this may be the start of something good. The Bucs have some good young talent, they added some big-name free agents and everything I’ve seen out of and heard about Schiano is that he’s a very organized coach. I’m not ready to say the Bucs are going to go out and win the Super Bowl, or even the NFC South, right away, but I think they’ll be much better than the 4-12 team they were last season.