Around the NFC South

December, 21, 2012
12/21/12
9:39
AM ET
Time for a Friday morning look at the top headlines from all around the division:

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Quarterback Josh Freeman says he’s blocking out criticism from fans and media. For Freeman’s sake, I hope that truly is the case. He plays for an organization that sometimes cares way too much about what’s being said on the outside. Freeman needs to relax and just go out and play the game.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Bradley Handwerger writes about the emergence of second-year running back Mark Ingram. His numbers have been limited since he came into the league because the Saints shuffle running backs so often. But Ingram has been producing nicely in recent weeks. That might prompt the Saints to cut down on the platoon system and give Ingram more carries in the future.

With Malcolm Jenkins out with an injury, Isa Abdul-Quddus has moved into the starting lineup and performed well. If he continues to improve, he could challenge Jenkins and Roman Harper for a starting spot next season.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Jonathan Jones has a film study that explores why quarterback Cam Newton has thrived recently. One reason is that Newton has been more willing to throw to secondary receivers.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Although Atlanta’s defense doesn’t rank very high in terms of yards allowed, Jay Adam writes that the Falcons rank No. 4 when it comes to points allowed. That second stat is much more important than the first.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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