Friday, September 23, 2011
Around the NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
A look at the top headlines from around the NFC South.
Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey said rookie receiver Julio Jones has helped create production for others. That’s true. Although Jones hasn’t put up big stats, his presence has helped open the middle of the field for tight end Tony Gonzalez and taken defensive attention away from Michael Turner and the running game.
Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams said he’s fine with the fact he hasn’t been carrying the ball a lot as the Panthers have thrown extensively in the first two games. But Williams said he suspects the team will start leaning more on the running game. I think he’s right. I think we’ll see more of Williams and Jonathan Stewart on Sunday against Jacksonville.
Tampa Bay’s No. 1 receiver Mike Williams finished with one catch for minus-4 yards in Sunday’s game with Minnesota. It happened because Williams was drawing double coverage. There are two ways around it. One is to maximize the other receivers and the Bucs have been doing that by throwing to Preston Parker, Arrelious Benn and tight end Kellen Winslow. If they produce enough, they’ll take some of the coverage off Williams. But there’s another way Williams can solve this problem. The really great receivers find ways to beat double coverage.
The Panthers avoided having their game with Jacksonville blacked out when a beer company and the television station that will air the game stepped up and bought the remaining tickets before Thursday’s deadline. Tampa Bay fans are going to read that and ask why companies or the team aren’t stepping up to end the streak of local television blackouts that will reach 10 this week. There’s a big difference here. The Panthers said they had 1,200 tickets left Tuesday. They wouldn’t say how many were left at the end, but it’s safe to assume it was less than 1,000. Tampa Bay officials said they’re expecting a crowd similar to what showed for the opener, which was about 51,000. That means the Bucs have somewhere around 15,000 unsold tickets.
Offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb, who was released by the Saints in the preseason, said he has officially retired.