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Monday, October 17, 2011
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Let’s hit the headlines to catch up on some loose ends from Monday around the NFC South.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones, who missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, went on a “rehab run’’, according to coach Mike Smith. It’s too early to tell if Jones will be ready for Sunday’s game in Detroit. But keep one thing in mind if this one is a close call late in the week: The Falcons have a bye week after the Detroit game and may be cautious if they’re not certain Jones is healthy.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera, who ran the 3-4 defense when he was a coordinator in San Diego, has started to mix in a little of that scheme. The Panthers used it three times Sunday. Rivera has said he’d like to mix in a fair amount of the 3-4, but don’t expect to see a lot of it this season. If you’re going to run the 3-4 on a regular basis, you need a full offseason to install and you need the personnel to run it properly.

Here’s one item I didn’t get to on Sunday because the saga of New Orleans coach Sean Payton was taking up a lot of time. But Payton wasn’t the only coach injured in Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake tore his patella tendon while celebrating an interception by Tanard Jackson and will need surgery after the team returns from London. There’s a lesson in this for Lake, Morris and some other Tampa Bay coaches who get a little too involved in celebrating. It’s fine to get excited about a big play. But, unless you’re the same age as the players and in the same kind of shape, it’s not a real good idea to try to jump up and down with them.

Bradley Handwerger and Jim Henderson discuss whether or not the Saints will be hurt if Payton has to do his game-day coaching from the press box while his leg recovers.

New Orleans running back Chris Ivory, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since the start of the season, said he feels great and is ready to play. The Saints have a three week window in which they can allow Ivory to practice before making a decision on whether or not to activate him. A healthy Ivory could join with Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas to give the Saints the deepest running-back stable in the NFL.