Stock Watch: NFC South

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:34
AM ET
FALLING

Josh Freeman, quarterback, Buccaneers. He’s been given an upgrade on the offensive line (Carl Nicks), at wide receiver (Vincent Jackson) and at running back (Doug Martin). But the results haven’t been much different than last season. Freeman and the Tampa Bay offense have yet to get into any real rhythm. Last year, I worried about former coach Raheem Morris and coordinator Greg Olson ruining this kid. Now, I'm a little worried that coach Greg Schiano and coordinator Mike Sullivan might do the same thing if the play calling doesn't get a little more creative.

Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Panthers. I still think the rookie will turn out to be a good player. But he hasn’t been very good the first three games. I think Kuechly’s biggest problem is he’s trying too hard. He’s been overrunning plays and not making good decisions. He’s a smart guy. He just needs to relax and go out and play the game.

Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins, safeties, Saints. Congratulations are due to Harper. He now has gone more than two years since his last interception. That came on Sept. 20, 2010. His fellow starter, Jenkins, also is closing in on the two-year anniversary of his last interception. That came Dec. 12, 2010.

RISING

William Moore and Thomas DeCoud, safeties, Falcons. Harper and Jenkins are struggling, but Moore and DeCoud are producing big results. They’re coming up with turnovers and they also look much more solid in coverage than they have in recent years.

Sam Baker, left tackle, Falcons. Fans were screaming for him to be replaced in the offseason. The Falcons stood by Baker. Looks like the team made the right move. Through three games, Baker has done a nice job of protecting Matt Ryan’s blind side.

Pat Hill, offensive line coach, Falcons. Speaking of Atlanta’s offensive line, it looks as if Hill has done a very nice job since replacing Paul Boudreau. The Falcons finally are giving Ryan enough time to be an efficient downfield passer.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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