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NFC South afternoon update

8/6/2013

METAIRIE, La. -- Let’s take a swoop through some headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

The city of Atlanta and one of the two churches that sit on the proposed South stadium site have agreed to a $19.5 million deal. Mayor Kasim Reed urged the Georgia World Congress Center to re-open talks with the other church. The South site is preferred by Reed and the Falcons, but the team has said it’s not opposed to building on the North site.

Wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (dislocated finger) will be held out of the preseason opener.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

The Panthers had several players get involved in a little scuffle during Tuesday morning’s practice. No surprise that Steve Smith was one of those players. Coach Ron Rivera gave his team a lecture about not fighting teammates.

Quarterback Cam Newton, who knows a thing or two about being under the microscope, said he has talked to Johnny Manziel, who is finding out all about scrutiny.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Jeff Duncan writes that second-year pro Akiem Hicks had a strong practice Tuesday morning. I saw Hicks make several nice plays. Hicks has been working at defensive end and defensive tackle and I think he is well on his way to earning a spot in the rotation.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Coach Greg Schiano indicated that quarterback Josh Freeman will play on a very limited basis in the preseason opener. That was expected. The Bucs need to give rookie Mike Glennon lots of playing time in the preseason to see if he’s ready to take over the backup job from Dan Orlovsky.

The Bucs are asking defensive end Da'Quan Bowers to go from a situational pass-rusher to an every-down player. Coach Greg Schiano said Bowers needs to start stringing together positive plays.