Around the NFC South

Time for a run through some odds and ends from around the division:


D. Orlando Ledbetter hands out some ugly grades for the Falcons in their preseason opener. There’s no doubt the team didn’t have a good showing. But let’s throw out a reminder that we’ll use often over the next few weeks -- preseason games really mean nothing.

The Falcons had defensive end Osi Umenyiora standing up at one point during Thursday night’s game. I don’t think that’s going to be the norm, but I think Umenyiora will be asked to stand up from time to time because coordinator Mike Nolan is going to be more creative with this defense.


With Jonathan Stewart out with an injury and DeAngelo Williams and the other starters to play only briefly, rookie Kenjon Barner could get lots of action in Friday’s preseason opener. That’s a good thing. Barner has shown explosive speed in camp. With a good showing in the preseason, he could work his way into the backfield rotation.


Coach Sean Payton said linebacker Junior Galette and running back Pierre Thomas would be listed as questionable if this was the regular season. I doubt you’ll see either one play Friday night. The Saints already have had some major injuries and they need to be cautious and get Galette and Thomas healthy.


There weren’t a lot of positives out of Thursday night’s lopsided loss to Baltimore. But Gil Arcia has a list of the Bucs who were most impressive. It’s a very good sign that rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks is on that list. Banks turned in a solid showing and it’s appearing more and more likely he’ll be a starter on opening day.