Let’s take a run through the evening headlines from around the NFC South.
— According to this unique formula, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the least home-field advantage in the NFL from 2009 through 2011. On the flip side, the New Orleans Saints ranked behind only the New England Patriots when playing at home during that same span. The Falcons were No. 5 in the Georgia Dome and the Panthers No. 20 at Bank of America Stadium.
— Former Atlanta quarterback Steve Bartkowski was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. He’s not the only player in the Class of 2012 with NFC South ties. Linebacker Mark Simoneau, who started his NFL career with the Falcons and had a later stint with the Saints, also was elected.
— It’s been a turbulent offseason for the Saints, but Wednesday night should provide a respite. The third annual Heath Evans Softball Classic will be held at Zephyr Field, which is adjacent to the Saints’ practice facility. More than 30 members of the Saints are expected to take part in the charity event.
— Mike Triplett writes that the Saints seem convinced their offense is in good hands with coordinator Pete Carmichael running the show while coach Sean Payton is suspended for the 2012 season. There’s good reason for that. Carmichael took over the play-calling duties last season when Payton suffered knee and leg injuries in a sideline collision and the offense didn’t miss a beat.
— Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said he was pleased with his team’s effort, but not its execution, in Tuesday’s organized team activity. Take this as another sign that Schiano is a stickler for detail. I was out there for the practice and the Bucs didn’t look all that bad, considering they have a new coaching staff and are just getting started with their on-field work.
— Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount is saying all the right things after the Bucs used a first-round pick on running back Doug Martin. Blount said he views the starting job as his “until they take it away." Martin’s got the edge because he’s the kind of all-purpose back Schiano wanted. But Blount is talented and the competition could inspire him to become a more well-rounded running back.