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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for an afternoon run through the headlines around the NFC South.

The Carolina Panthers wrapped up their first training camp under coach Ron Rivera on Wednesday. The team will return to its facility at Bank of America Stadium for the rest of the preseason after Friday night’s exhibition in Miami. Rivera said he’s pleased with what coaches and players were able to accomplish during a hectic few weeks at Wofford College. The Panthers have remained the only NFC South team to hold training camp away from their regular-season facility.

The Bucs also have wrapped up the camp portion of their preseason. They’re off Wednesday as they prepare for Thursday night’s home game with New England. Coach Raheem Morris pointed to the preseason opener against Kansas City to say he thinks camp was a success.

Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson, who signed a $76 million contract soon after the lockout was lifted, expects to play in Friday’s preseason game at Miami. Johnson missed the opener with a minor shoulder injury.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton said he’s yet to hear from the NFL on whether or not defensive end Will Smith will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season.

Tampa Bay’s Kregg Lumpkin is trying to make the most of his opportunity to be the top backup running back behind LeGarrette Blount.

Jay Adams takes a look at the storylines as the Falcons get ready for Wednesday night’s practice with the Jaguars. He points to the competition at nickel back among Christopher Owens, Dominique Franks and Rafael Bush. I agree that this one is key and I think the coaching staff will give each of those three guys plenty of reps to see them in a setting that’s almost like a game.