Time for a quick look at some headlines from around the NFC South.
The New Orleans Saints’ bounty program dominated the NFL owners meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., in late March. The owners will have another meeting Tuesday in Atlanta. The May gathering is a much quicker and smaller meeting (owners, coaches and executives attend the March meeting) with an agenda that includes some updates on stadium situations and some talk about minor rule changes. But I would expect NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to get asked about the defamation lawsuit recently filed against him by New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma, and the commissioner also might have to field some more questions on the Saints’ situation from the media.
The Carolina Panthers have signed undrafted rookie receiver Hubert Anyiam. He spent a brief period after the draft with San Diego before being waived. Anyiam played at Oklahoma State. He’ll be fighting for one of the final receiver spots on the roster. Veteran Steve Smith is locked in as a starter. But, after that, Brandon LaFell, David Gettis, Kealoha Pilares, rookie Joe Adams and Armanti Edwards are competing for the remaining jobs. To make room for Anyiam, the Panthers released defensive tackle Jason Shirley.
Speaking of Carolina’s receiver situation, Joseph Person has a breakdown of that, as well as some other position battles as the Panthers get ready to take the field for Tuesday’s organized team activity.
Jay Adams writes that Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones are prime candidates for the next wave of the NFL Network’s list of the top 100 players for 2012. I’m thinking there’s a pretty good chance Jones could end up being ranked ahead of Roddy White, who fell 41 spots from last year and came in at No. 65 on this year’s list.
Mike Freeman writes that a lot of New Orleans players feel the franchise is being “railroaded’’ in the bounty scandal, and say the NFL hasn’t produced enough evidence to justify the punishments. But Freeman is right when he says whatever evidence the NFL has might stay locked away. The league says it has sources to protect. Unless Vilma’s lawsuit or something else pushes this matter into an open court room, the NFL doesn’t have to release anything more.
The one knock on Tampa Bay rookie linebacker Lavonte David is his size (6-foot-1 and 233 pounds). But Scott Reynolds writes that shouldn’t be a concern because David is such a sure tackler. Funny, but a lot of people said Derrick Brooks was undersized and should move to safety back when he was coming out of college. Funny, but the Bucs left Brooks at linebacker, and that ended up working out very nicely.