NFC South afternoon update

As we wait for Thursday night’s games between the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, let’s take a look at some headlines from around the NFC South:

  • Carolina quarterback Cam Newton isn’t resting on his laurels after a stellar rookie season. Newton said he wants to cut down his turnovers. That’s not a bad idea for a guy that threw 17 interceptions last season.

  • Speaking of Newton, in this radio interview, he says veteran receiver Steve Smith requires his teammates to be at the top of their game on every play. That’s not a bad thing. Smith requires the same thing from himself and his status as an elder statesman means others will listen to him. That’s called leadership.

  • Carolina linebacker Jon Beason isn’t expected to play in Saturday’s exhibition opener with Houston. Beason has a hamstring injury that’s not related to the torn Achilles tendon that kept him out most of last season. Beason is expected to return to practice next week.

  • Tampa Bay cornerback Anthony Gaitor will get a chance to play in front of family and friends when the Bucs play the Dolphins on Friday night. But Gaitor can’t afford to get too caught up in the homecoming. With E.J. Biggers and Aqib Talib banged up, Gaitor is going to get a chance to show what he can do and that could evolve into playing time in the regular season.

  • Speaking of Tampa Bay cornerbacks, Eric Wright said he he is happy he chose to join the Bucs in free agency. I’m sure a $37.5 million contract helped, but Wright said he made his decision largely because he saw Tampa Bay as a young team with lots of potential.