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Saturday, August 6, 2011
Hitting the NFC South links

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for a Saturday morning trip through the NFC South headlines to catch you up on everything that happened as I was traveling home from Atlanta on Friday night.

Center Olin Kreutz had offers to sign for more money with other teams, but elected to join the Saints. That’s the  kind of move you make when you’re 34 and want to play for a team with a shot at the Super Bowl. Kreutz’s arrival probably means the Saints can bring second-year pro Matt Tennant along slowly.

All the excitement about the recent moves in Carolina has been dampened a bit. Defensive tackle Ron Edwards, who was added as a free agent, suffered a torn triceps. The Panthers believe rookie Terrell McClain will start at one defensive tackle, but they no longer are sure at the other spot. Corvey Irvin has been working with the first team, but the Panthers may have to go out and add a veteran free agent.

The Falcons usually do a full scrimmage at a local high school after a week in training camp. They held the event Friday night, but it was a scaled-down version. They took it easy on the players who had been held out of practice while the league was waiting for the labor agreement to be fully ratified and the session was cut short due to lightning in the area.

Second-year receiver Kerry Meier, who missed his rookie year with an injury, was having a big practice for the Falcons on Friday night, before the weather cut things short.

Jimmy Clausen no longer is the most popular quarterback with Carolina fans. That’s understandable because that’s what happens when you go 2-14 and the team uses the first overall draft pick on Cam Newton. The team hasn’t completely given up on Clausen, but there is strong hope that Newton will show enough in camp to earn the starting job for opening day.

Tampa Bay fans, go ahead and book your hotel rooms for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. The team has brought back defensive end Tim Crowder. In a very ordinary five-year career, he’s piled up 10.5 sacks. Crowder could start if the team wants to go with someone with a bit of experience. But I think the Bucs are hoping to start rookies Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers and they'll use Crowder for depth.