Stock Watch: NFC South

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
8:44
AM ET
FALLING

Tyson Clabo, right tackle, Falcons. He was the guy that was matched up with Carolina’s Charles Johnson most of the day. Even though the Falcons gave Clabo a lot of help by lining up offensive lineman Mike Johnson as a tight end, Charles Johnson still was able to beat the blocks and record 3.5 sacks. The entire offensive line had a rough time most of the day, allowing quarterback Matt Ryan to be sacked seven times. However, it should be noted that Ryan did get the time he needed to throw on the game-winning drive.

Sean McDermott, defensive coordinator, Panthers. Injuries were a convenient excuse last year. But the Panthers are healthy this year and they’ve made some additions. Still this defense is playing badly. When you have an opponent at its 1-yard line with 59 seconds, I don’t care how good the opponent is, you should be able to make one play to end the game because one play is all it would have taken. If this season keeps getting uglier, there's going to have to be a scapegoat and it probably is too early for that to be head coach Ron Rivera.

Aaron Kromer, interim coach, Saints. There’s no doubt Kromer has been thrown into one of the toughest spots ever and you have to give him credit for getting a good effort from the Saints at Lambeau Field. But Kromer’s “we’re getting better’’ message is wearing thin. The Saints are 0-4. Only two more games before Joe Vitt takes over as the acting head coach and Kromer can go back to coaching an offensive line that hasn’t been very good while he’s been coaching the entire team.

RISING

Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson, wide receivers, Buccaneers. Jackson and Williams each had at least 100 receiving yards in Sunday’s loss to Washington. That’s a good sign. Williams and Jackson are building some chemistry with quarterback Josh Freeman, and the Bucs could be on their way to having some consistency in the passing game.

Roddy White, wide receiver, Falcons. A lot of people thought this would be the year Julio Jones would surpass White as the No. 1 wide receiver. It hasn’t worked that way. Jones has been good and has drawn a lot of coverage. But White’s been dominant and Sunday was one of the best games of his career. He had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns and his late 59-yard grab was one of the best catches you’ll ever see.

Vance Walker, defensive tackle, Falcons. You don’t hear a lot about this veteran backup. But Walker plays an important role in Atlanta’s rotation and he came up big in Sunday’s victory. He had a sack, three tackles and a forced fumble.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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NFC SOUTH SCOREBOARD