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Friday, January 7, 2011
Hitting the NFC South links

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

SEATTLE -- As we count down the hours until Saturday's playoff game between the Saints and Seahawks, let's take a look at what else is going on around the NFC South.

With Andrew Luck out of the draft, Brian Linder writes the Panthers should use the No. 1 overall pick on Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Makes some sense. He’s a local kid, and the last time the Panthers used a high pick on a local kid was Julius Peppers. That didn’t end well, but the Panthers got some very good years out of Peppers.

It’s the bye week for the Falcons, so things are a little quiet. But Atlanta Journal-Constitution beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter is a veteran, and he knows where to turn when things start to get dull. He got this gem out of receiver Roddy White: “Every time you catch the ball, I feel like it's money.They are just throwing me money. In big bundles, too. You have to just keep catching them. Everybody likes money, so you want to catch it."

Oliver Luck, the father of Stanford quarterback Andrew, said his son’s decision not to enter the 2011 draft was not a slight on the Carolina Panthers, who hold the first pick.

Although there have been reports that the Denver Broncos are interested in New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as a possible head coach, there has been no contact between the parties. That’s because league rules prohibit teams from talking to Williams while the Saints are in the playoffs, although there is a potential window in the bye week between the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl, if the Saints keep playing that long. But Williams sounds like a man who is pretty happy where he’s at.

Although he frequently was portrayed as a malcontent in his Cleveland days, tight end Kellen Winslow sounds very happy in Tampa Bay and already is looking forward to next season.

Carolina general manager Marty Hurney and team president Danny Morrison are doing their first wave of coaching interviews on the road. They were in New York on Thursday to meet with Perry Fewell. They’ll spend the weekend with Greg Manusky and Ron Rivera in California, and Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan also is in the picture. Team owner Jerry Richardson said there could be more candidates, and Hurney and Morrison will narrow down the list before bringing two or three candidates to Charlotte for interviews.