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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for a look at the top headlines from around the NFC South.

After taking a beating early in the season, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked only twice in the past three games. An early injury that sidelined center Todd McClure and Garrett Reynolds taking over as the starter at right guard might have factored into the early problems. But coach Mike Smith said some changes in blocking schemes have led to the improved protection.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers are only “a play away’’ from winning. That’s true and there are signs those plays will come at some point. But the Panthers are 1-5 and there are plenty of other teams around the league that would have better records if they had made another play or two.

The Buccaneers spent Tuesday seeing the sights in London. They jump into their regular practice routine Wednesday and they’ll be working on a converted rugby field.

Tampa Bay long-snapper Andrew Economos, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason, has returned to practice. He remains on the physically unable to perform list, but the Bucs can activate him anytime in the next three weeks.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton began his recovery from leg and knee injuries by watching film of the Indianapolis Colts from his hospital bed. He expects to return to practice sometime this week.