Around the NFC South

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
10:00
AM ET
Time to catch up on some news and notes from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

The Falcons are game planning for their exhibition with Tennessee. That’s something the team didn’t do for the first two preseason games. The starters are likely to get extended playing time. Last year, the starters played into the third quarter of the third preseason game and I think you can expect a similar scenario this time around.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Jon Beason has returned to practice and is making the transition from middle linebacker to the weak side. But coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers want to be creative in how they use Beason. His versatility could allow the Panthers to mix things up at linebacker and keep offenses off balance.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

It appears as if wide receiver Marques Colston is getting healthy. He practiced for the first time since Aug. 8.

Although the release of Seneca Wallace means that Luke McCown is the backup quarterback, McCown said he still feels like he has more to prove. McCown has had a strong preseason and he’s a veteran. The Saints are better off at backup quarterback than they have been in a long time.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Ira Kaufman writes that backup running backs Mike James, Brian Leonard and Peyton Hillis all have been impressive in the preseason. The Bucs are going to face a big decision here because it’s likely they’ll only keep two of those three behind starter Doug Martin. Hillis is the most experienced of the bunch, but he could be hurt by the fact that he doesn’t play special teams.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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