- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let's take a look at the top Tuesday afternoon headlines from around the NFC South:
Former NFL coach Tony Dungy said Atlanta coach Mike Smith should get running back Michael Turner more involved in the offense. I respect Dungy as much as any coach I’ve ever covered and I do think the Falcons need to keep some semblance of a running game. But I think it would be a mistake to force too much Turner’s way. He’s looked slower than usual this season and the Falcons finally have a dependable passing game. Stick with what’s working. There was a time when the Atlanta offense revolved around Turner, but that time was when Mike Mularkey -- and not Dirk Koetter -- was the offensive coordinator. Turner still has an important role, but this is an offense that's built mostly around the passing game.
Ron Rivera has been criticized for not having quarterback Cam Newton attempt to leap over the Seattle defense from the 1-yard line on Sunday. Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski explained the decision to attempt a pass. They said Seattle was putting up a 10-man front and they liked their chances with three receivers lined up. They also pointed to the fact that center Ryan Kalil was playing with an injured ankle and might have been pushed around by Seattle’s defensive tackles.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
In his weekly film study, Mike Triplett notes that the Saints finally generated a consistent pass rush out of their front four. That’s the way a Steve Spagnuolo defense is supposed to work, with the back seven allowed to concentrate on pass coverage. I’m not sure the Saints have the personnel up front to be really dominant, but this is a sign that Spagnuolo’s defense can have some success. I think there’s also the chance Spagnuolo’s teachings could really help young defensive ends Cameron Jordan, Junior Galette and Martez Wilson blossom as the season goes on.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday afternoon that Drew Brees has sent the ball he used to break the record previously held by Johnny Unitas for touchdown passes thrown in consecutive games. The Hall of Fame said the ball was accompanied by a play sheet signed by interim head coach Aaron Kromer, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and Brees, who added "48'' to his autograph. The mementos were placed on exhibit inside the Hall of Fame's Pro Football Today Gallery on Tuesday. The Hall of Fame has been informed that Brees also intends to add the football he throws for a touchdown from the final game of the streak, when that occurs.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Coach Greg Schiano said backup running back LeGarrette Blount has looked better in practice in recent weeks. The Bucs aren’t ready to push Blount ahead of rookie Doug Martin for the starting job, but I think you’ll continue to see a gradual increase in Blount’s work load as the Bucs still seek to find their offensive identity.
The Bucs also sent out an announcement Tuesday afternoon, saying they have placed cornerback Anthony Gaitor on injured reserve (designated for return) and promoted linebacker Jacob Cutrera from the practice squad.