Time to take a look at the day's top headlines from around the NFC South:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Coach Greg Schiano said he could not address a FOX Sports report that cornerback Eric Wright soon will be suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The NFL hasn’t announced anything yet. It’s possible this situation is in the appeals process. It’s also possible that, with the NFL office closed due to Hurricane Sandy, this matter might not be dealt with immediately. Either way, Schiano said Wright has an Achilles injury that could keep him out of Sunday’s game at Oakland. Get ready to see more of Leonard Johnson, E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis.
Roscoe Parrish, who was brought in to solidify a struggling punt-return game, muffed a punt against Minnesota and hasn’t had a big return yet. But Parrish said he’s confident better times are ahead and he doesn’t want to press too much. Sounds good in theory, but Parrish might want to press a bit because I’m not sure the Bucs have come to view him as the long-term solution.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Bradley Handwerger writes that it’s time to accept the reality that this isn’t going to be the Saints’ season. There still was a glimmer of hope going into Sunday night, but that disappeared when the Broncos ripped the Saints apart. The Saints have way too many problems to make a dramatic turnaround. I’m looking at their remaining schedule and I see only five games that I think they even have a chance to win. That means 7-9 is an absolute best-case scenario.
Coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers aren’t actively shopping anyone for a trade. But that doesn’t mean nothing will happen before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline. Teams don’t usually shop their own players. Other teams generally have an idea of who might be on the block and they’ll make inquiries. If someone asks about running back DeAngelo Williams, or almost anyone else on the roster, I think the Panthers a least have to listen.
Scott Fowler writes that bad coaching decisions were responsible for Sunday’s loss to Chicago. He’s right. Rivera made some questionable moves, but it wasn’t all about the coaching. You can also put plenty of blame on the players.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suffered a low-ankle sprain against Philadelphia. As is his custom, coach Mike Smith wouldn’t go into much detail about the injury, so we’ll have to see if Weatherspoon returns to practice later in the week. Against the Eagles, the Falcons had middle linebacker Akeem Dent pick up the snaps after Weatherspoon was injured. But if Weatherspoon is going to miss any games, it would be significant. He probably has been Atlanta’s best linebacker this season.
Smith said defensive tackle Corey Peters played 20 snaps as he made his season debut after sitting out the first six games with a foot injury. As long as there are no setbacks, I’d imagine you’ll see Peters’ playing time gradually increase as the season goes on.