Around the NFC South

July, 16, 2012
7/16/12
9:25
AM ET
Time for a look at the top Monday morning headlines from around the NFC South.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter has an overview of Atlanta’s defensive line. There’s a consistent theme throughout -- the Falcons need to get more sacks. They didn’t have a lot of personnel changes up front in the offseason, so it’s going to be up to new coordinator Mike Nolan to figure out how to get consistent pressure.
  • Zeke Trezevant has an overview of Atlanta’s offensive line. If this unit can improve its pass blocking, Matt Ryan finally might have time to make a real impact in the deep passing game.
  • The Times-Picayune continues its countdown of the top 25 Saints with safety Roman Harper at No. 10. No doubt that one will draw some mixed emotions from fans. Harper has drawn a lot of criticism for his pass coverage through the years. Still, in the old defensive system, Harper made some big plays as a blitzer and as a run defender. But new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is expected to have his safeties play much more traditional roles. That could lead to more coverage time for Harper.
  • Two coaches with ties to NFC South cities will make their debuts in the American Century Championship golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. Atlanta coach Mike Smith and Skip Holtz, who coaches at Tampa’s University of South Florida, will be playing for the first time.
  • Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to go with the 85-percent mark as their threshold for blackouts, Mark Cook points out that doesn’t guarantee the Bucs will have every home game televised live on local television. Tampa Bay remains a difficult market. The Bucs have come up with some special promotions and pricing, but I think the best way to make sure there are sellouts is for this team to get off to a good start on the field.
  • Although his for-profit autograph session drew criticism locally and nationally, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had about 300 fans waiting when he showed up to sign Saturday.
  • Bradley Handwerger asks if this will be the year New Orleans receiver Marques Colston finally gets a Pro Bowl berth? There’s little question that Colston has as much ability as the guys that have been making Pro Bowls in recent years. But what he has lacked has been the numbers. That’s not a poor reflection on Colston. He just happens to play in one of the league’s most unique offenses. The Saints spread the ball around to so many different receivers that it’s not realistic to expect Colston to produce 100-catch seasons.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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