- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let's take a look at the top Thursday morning headlines from around the division.
There had been some uncertainty as to how the Falcons will deploy their cornerbacks now that Asante Samuel has joined the mix. General manager Thomas Dimitroff cleared that up by saying the plan is to slide Dunta Robinson inside and let him handle slot receivers. Samuel and Brent Grimes will play the outside.
Martin Fennelly writes that Tampa Bay’s signing of Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand is the best signing in franchise history. I couldn’t agree more, even though LeGrand never will play with the Bucs. This one came from the heart of Greg Schiano, who coached LeGrand at Rutgers, until a 2010 game in which LeGrand was paralyzed. Schiano and LeGrand have remained especially close. This move was all about the relationship between Schiano and LeGrand. But when fans see things like that, the Bucs, who haven’t been easy to embrace in recent years, suddenly become a lot more likeable.
Stephen Holder has a list of several undrafted players who have a chance to start the process of earning roster spots in Tampa Bay’s upcoming rookie camp.
New Orleans defensive end Will Smith has said he’ll appeal his four-game suspension and linebacker Jonathan Vilma has implied he’ll do the same with his season-long suspension. But a legal expert says they’ll face an uphill battle because they’re appealing to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the same man who handed down the punishments. Goodell already upheld appeals of suspensions by coach Sean Payton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis.
Carolina undrafted receiver Jared Green has good speed and bloodlines. He’s the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green. But he’s raw after a college career that included stops at Virginia and Southern.