- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time for a look at the top Wednesday morning headlines from around the NFC South.
Carolina offensive tackle Jordan Gross said he’s not surprised the Saints were running a bounty program. He pointed to Roman Harper’s late hit on Steve Smith last season and said the Saints were “an extra bit pushy." But Gross also said he found it weird that players that make so much money were motivated by the possibility of earning a few hundred extra dollars.
Scott Carasik predicts that Joe Hawley will end up as Atlanta’s starting center. I think that’s entirely possible and I think that’s what the Atlanta coaching staff wants. Yeah, the Falcons used a second-round pick on Peter Konz, who played center at Wisconsin. But the Falcons have been working him as a guard so far and I think that’s where they want to keep him. At 6-foot-5, Konz is much taller than the traditional center, but he is the perfect size for guard. Veteran center Todd McClure is going to fight to keep his starting job. But McClure is near the end of the road and the Falcons want to get younger on the offensive line. The best way to do that is with Hawley at center, which might be his natural position, and Konz at guard.
The Falcons announced that three of their five minicamp practices next week will be open to the public.
Martin Fennelly writes about how Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman is sporting a new look -- he’s dropped a lot of weight and has a new haircut. That’s all nice. But I don’t think anyone has ever questioned Freeman’s work ethic or the way he approaches the game. I think the bigger change in Freeman’s play next season will come due to the change of the coaching staff and the improvement in the offensive supporting cast.
Stephen Holder writes that Tampa Bay’s lineup at linebacker appears to be taking shape with Mason Foster in the middle, rookie Lavonte David on the weak side and Quincy Black on the strong side. Yeah, there still is time for other guys to step up, but I think that’s the trio the Bucs want starting.
New Orleans quarterback Chase Daniel showed up at a charity event with his throwing hand bandaged, but it remains unclear if the injury is anything to be concerned about.