Around the NFC South

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
9:55
AM ET
Time for a look at the Tuesday morning headlines from around the NFC South:

ATLANTA FALCONS

D. Orlando Ledbetter has a list of five things the Atlanta coaches think the Falcons need to improve after reviewing the first six games during the bye week. No. 1 on the list is to stop missing tackles and No. 2 is to improve the run defense. These two kind of go hand in hand. The good news is missed tackles should be an easy thing to fix. Players have been tackling since they were kids. The Falcons just have to get back to the basic fundamentals in this area.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Mike Klis writes that the Panthers should look into hiring Brian Xanders to replace Marty Hurney as general manager. Xanders was the former general manager in Denver, and Carolina pursuing him would make sense if the Panthers want someone with previous experience who can start immediately. The Panthers have been very tight lipped about how they plan to proceed, but the one thing I’ve heard is they have their eye on at least one guy that currently works for another team and has not been a general manager before. If the Panthers want to talk to that guy, NFL rules say they have to wait until after the season. But they can talk immediately to Xanders or anyone else that is not currently employed by an NFL team.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Larry Holder reports that Saints owner Tom Benson might ask NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to reduce coach Sean Payton’s season-long suspension if an appeals hearing on player suspensions ends up reducing or eliminating suspensions. Let’s wait and see what happens on Oct. 30 when former commissioner Paul Tagliabue hears the appeals. But I’m thinking if the suspensions are eliminated or reduced, then the Saints can make a pretty strong case to bring Payton back this season.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

After producing only nine catches in the first five games, veteran tight end Dallas Clark had five catches against the Saints on Sunday. I don’t think Clark suddenly is back to being the same player he was in Indianapolis a few years back. But you might want to consider grabbing him for your fantasy team. Josh Freeman has been having good success with receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, and that means Clark is not drawing a lot of coverage.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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