NFC South mailbag

ORLANDO, Fla. -- It has been very quiet as the NFL world arrives for the owners meeting. The official start comes Monday morning and we’ll bring you all the news and notes on the NFC South.

But, for the moment, let’s dip into the mailbag and see what’s on your mind.

Rudy in Arkansas writes: Assuming that Carolina has another disappointing season. Do you have any insights or thoughts about who they might chase as the next heir. I would like Bill Cowher, but everyone says he wants to go to NYG, other than Cowher is there anyone else who jumps out there?

Pat Yasinskas: How about John Fox? Yes, he doesn’t have a contract beyond next season, but he could go out and earn one. Say what you want about last year’s disappointing season and about the offseason moves. But Fox also has had plenty of success in the past. He could turn it around and assure himself of a very big contract. And let’s not even start thinking about the Cowher road again. I’ve never bought into the speculation that he wants the Carolina job or that the Panthers want him.

Kareem in San Antonio, Texas, writes: Why don't the Tampa Bay Buccanneers make a strong play for Brandon Marshall? Marshall is at a nice peak of his career and I believe he will get better. He played college football at Central Florida and would be a huge asset to a team committed to staying young. Brandon Marshall would help Josh Freeman, not only develop his game but also maximize his potential. It makes sense, and a couple of draft picks is a small price to pay for such a huge reward.

Pat Yasinskas: Your points make sense and there could be huge rewards with Marshall. But there also are risks that come with him. He’s had some issues and isn’t exactly known as a team player. Yes, Marshall has big-time talent. But the Bucs are trying to build with a young team and I think they also consider things like team chemistry and how a guy might fit into their locker room when they think about moves like this.

Will in Roswell, Ga., writes: I am a huge Falcons fans and lately one thing has REALLY been bothering me. Some fans have been talking about Brandon Marshall coming to the Falcons. Mike Smith, Arthur Blank, and Thomas Dimitroff all PREACH about how only high character guys get a shot on the Falcons and how we only build through the draft. So why would they trade a first rounder, give up even more cash, to sign someone who has had issues.

Pat Yasinskas: Sounds like you know the Falcons and how they operate. That’s precisely why I don’t think there’s any way the Falcons would pursue Marshall.

Kevin in Glen Lyon, Pa., writes: I noticed Mel Kiper has the Falcons drafting C.J. Spiller at #19. WHY??? He's a great athlete, but it's no secret we need defense. Especially, pass rushers and LB's who can drop back and cover the pass. Who do you think we should draft at 19??

Pat Yasinskas: I agree that Atlanta’s needs are on defense. I’m going to throw a name at you that hasn’t really been linked to the Falcons: Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick. Coach Mike Smith was in State College the other day to watch Odrick work out. Yes, I’m the first to say don’t put too much stock into who goes to workouts and what teams visit with players. But, for the moment, I think Odrick’s at least on Atlanta’s radar. Could also see Atlanta going with a defensive end or outside linebacker.

Matt in Streator, Ill., writes: Ok, I know you think the Bucs have a good plan, but I just don't see it. A 3 win team has way too many holes to just sit on your hands during free agency. I understand they have 10 draft picks but how often do more then 1 or 2 picks make significant impacts? To me it seems they are telling us we have to sit through another losing season before they can get better.

Pat Yasinskas: I don’t think I’ve said it’s a good plan. But it is the plan the Bucs are following. Ownership made that decision last year when it fired Jon Gruden and purged the roster of a bunch of older players. When you do that, you make a commitment and you don’t just give up on it in one year. Yeah, you could have another losing season ahead, but I think you’ll see improvement.