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Saturday, September 17, 2011
NFC South weekend mailbag

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Before I hit the road for Atlanta, let’s take a look through the NFC South mailbag.

Josh in Houston asks if Adrian Arrington will get increased playing time for the Saints with Marques Colston out for a few weeks with a broken collarbone.

Pat Yasinskas: I think that’s a safe assumption. Even if Lance Moore, who is questionable for Sunday, is able to play, you might see a fair amount of Arrington. Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson each fit the profile of speed receivers. Arrington is a bigger receiver, like Colston, and could be used over the middle. The Saints have kept Arrington around and didn’t go shopping for a receiver after Colston’s injury, so they must think he can help them.


Bryan in Athens, Ga., asks how long Matt Ryan will remain the Falcons “guy’’ if he doesn’t win a playoff game in the next two years.

Pat Yasinskas: The Falcons like Ryan tremendously and I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon. Yes, he has lost two playoff games, but they weren’t entirely his fault. I know the Falcons had a tough time in their opener, but I think they’ll bounce back. They went out and got receiver Julio Jones and defensive end Ray Edwards to upgrade some weak areas. Give them a little time and we’ll see if they make a difference.


George in San Francisco says we should slow down on the Cam Newton hype because all he’s done so far is have one nice game.

Pat Yasinskas: Agree that a career isn’t made by one game and Newton has to prove it over the long haul. But let’s give Carolina fans a little something to get excited about. They’ve had a rough couple years and Newton’s debut was pretty impressive.


Matt in Camden, N.J., said he likes the fact the Bucs are building through the draft. But he wonders if they’ve taken it a little too far and need to mix in a little bit of help from free agents.

Pat Yasinskas: I hear you. I also believe in the building-through-the-draft philosophy. I watched it work when I covered the Bucs in the Tony Dungy and Rich McKay days and the Panthers through most of the time John Fox and Marty Hurney were together. Going wild in free agency doesn’t always work -- just ask the Redskins. But I think the Bucs were a little extreme in sticking with their philosophy this year. They really didn’t change much from last year’s team, other than the players they picked up in the draft. Yes, last season’s 10-6 record was encouraging, but I think there was room to upgrade the overall talent level of the roster. I’m not talking about anything huge, but a couple of free agents who still are relatively young might have been a good way to help the youth movement along.