- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time for a cruise through the top headlines from around the NFC South.
Carolina’s Jon Beason said he’d be willing to move from middle linebacker to the outside, if he’s asked to by the coaching staff. Beason has been at middle linebacker during the early part of the offseason program, but he’s only taken part in walkthroughs as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon. Beason has been cleared to participate in the Panthers’ minicamp, which starts Tuesday. The Panthers have been working first-round pick Luke Kuechly at outside linebacker, but he played in the middle in college. The coaching staff hasn’t made any definitive declarations as to where the linebackers will line up on opening day. There are other factors at work here. Outside linebacker Thomas Davis is trying to come back from his third ACL tear and no one knows if he’ll be the same player he was before the injuries. Beason has played the outside a little before. I think the only thing that’s safe to say is he and Kuechly will be starters in September, but the coaching staff will use training camp to determine what spots they’ll be in.
A writer that says he was once a naysayer about Cam Newton now says the Carolina quarterback has a chance to be the kind of icon Michael Jordan was for the NBA. That’s a little ironic, since Newton’s more popular than Jordan in Charlotte these days. There’s no denying Jordan was an icon as a player, but his tenure as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats hasn’t been filled with many great moments.
Mike Triplett writes that the battle for the No. 4 wide receiver spot for the Saints is one of the team’s most intriguing competitions. Battles to be the No. 4 receiver usually aren’t all that interesting or important, but it’s different with the Saints. They spread the ball around so much and get all the receivers involved. With Robert Meachem gone, the Saints need someone to play behind Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore. The candidates are Adrian Arrington, Nick Toon and Joe Morgan. Arrington might have a slight edge at the moment, but that’s only because he’s been with the team the longest. Toon and Morgan will get long looks in training camp.
Josh Freeman isn’t giving away Tampa Bay’s playbook, but he says the play-action game will be a big part of the new offense. That means running backs Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount and the offensive line are going to have to establish a strong running game early in the season to get defense’s to bite on play-action fakes.
With the Falcons adding a few more offensive linemen in the draft, veteran center Todd McClure said he’s happy to share knowledge with the younger players. But he also said he’s completely healthy and doesn’t sound like a man who is ready to give up his starting job without a fight.
Scott Carasik writes that it’s crucial for Atlanta strong safety William Moore to stay healthy next season. Moore has played well at times, but also has had a history of injury problems.