- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time for a look at the Tuesday morning headlines from around the NFC South:
Atlanta center Todd McClure is designed to take advantage of what a defense is giving. I know everyone is getting all excited about the “new’’ passing game and there’s reason to be excited because it’s tough for any defense to match up with Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez. But, as defenses try to put more focus on them, there will be games where the running game will be wide open for the Falcons. There will be times when you will see a fair amount of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers out of the backfield. The Falcons are not going to simply abandon the running game.
Scott Fowler points out an amazing stat. If the Panthers had held every 2011 opponent to 16 points, like they did against the Bucs on Sunday, they would have gone 14-1-1. Yep, the amazing thing is it looks like Carolina has fixed a defense that was terrible a year ago. All offseason, fans thought fixing the defense would get the Panthers into the playoffs. But, even if the defense continues to play well, it’s not going to matter unless the offense makes a dramatic improvement after the debacle in Tampa Bay.
Erik Spanberg writes that, although the Panthers aren’t in danger of having games blacked out like the Buccaneers, the prices for Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) have dropped in recent years.
New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins said he’d rather lose early and find out what his team is about. He also pointed back to recent seasons in which the Saints had an occasional bad outing, but bounced back from it. When you think back, that’s a legitimate point. But, until the Saints do bounce back, people are going to wonder if the bounty drama is taking a toll.
Roy Cummings writes about how Tampa Bay’s draft class is making an early impact. That’s not unexpected. A new coaching staff is going to play the guys it drafted because they fit the system. Safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David essentially were starters from the moment they were drafted.