Time for a morning run through the top headlines from around the division:
Rookie cornerback Robert Alford played a team-high 84 percent of the defensive snaps in the preseason game with Tennessee. Part of that was because starter Asante Samuel left early with an injury. But, more than anything, the Falcons wanted to take a long look at Alford because he’s in line for a lot of playing time.
Joseph Person writes that Jimmy Clausen likely will be the odd man out if the Panthers decide to carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. The Panthers carried three quarterbacks in each of the past two seasons with coach Ron Rivera. But general manager Dave Gettleman comes from the New York Giants, a team that usually carries only two quarterbacks.
Receiver Domenik Hixon is ready to play in the preseason final. Hixson has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. He once appeared to be the leading candidate to be the third receiver. Now, he’s fighting for a roster spot.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Jeff Duncan writes that the rookie class could be special, and that as many as 12 first-year players could make the roster. The Saints haven’t always given their rookies a lot of playing time in recent years. But that figures to change this season. Safety Kenny Vaccaro and receiver Kenny Stills look like they’ll be seeing a lot of action.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Coach Greg Schiano gave a mixed review of Josh Freeman’s play in the preseason game with Miami, saying the quarterback saw things well. I think Schiano is being too generous. Freeman never got into any sort of rhythm in his most extensive playing time of the preseason.