Let’s take a run through the headlines from around the NFC South.
D. Orlando Ledbetter reports the Falcons recently worked out veteran tight end Daniel Graham. The Falcons have a roster spot to fill after releasing linebacker Matt Hansen on Friday night.
John Manasso lays out five story lines for the Falcons as they get ready to start camp. He covers the big questions at middle linebacker and left tackle but also explores what the defense will look like with new coordinator Mike Nolan and how newly-acquired cornerback Asante Samuel will fit in.
The Times-Picayune continues its countdown of the top 25 Saints with wide receiver Marques Colston at No. 5. Mike Triplett writes that Colston may be valued more in an offense that doesn’t spread the ball around as much as the Saints. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. But Colston also was smart enough to realize he’s in a great situation with quarterback Drew Brees. That may be a big part of the reason why Colston re-signed with the Saints instead of leaving via free agency.
Here’s a Barry Wilner column that recites the litany of all the offseason drama the Saints have been through. Wilner writes that the Saints could have trouble overcoming all the adversity. That’s obviously a legitimate concern with coach Sean Payton suspended for the season. But I think the Saints still can have a successful season because they have a veteran roster that also happens to have plenty of talent.
In an answer to a question that came from many readers, Tampa Bay’s Aug. 22 and 23 workouts with the Patriots will not be open to the public. They come after training camp (and public workouts) ends. The Bucs and Patriots will play a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on Aug. 24.
Bryan Strickland has an overview of Carolina’s situation at defensive end. Charles Johnson has 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons, but the rest of the team hasn’t been very productive in the pass rush. Greg Hardy is the incumbent as the other starter, but the Panthers likely will take long looks at Thomas Keiser, Antwan Applewhite and rookie Frank Alexander in the preseason.