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Thursday, November 3, 2011
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

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

Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong said that rookie punter/kickoff specialist Matt Bosher is making progress. Bosher got off to a very rough start and a lot of fans were calling for the Falcons to bring in a replacement. The team stuck with Bosher. That was largely because the Falcons did a lot of homework on Bosher in the draft process and believed he could move past the early problems. He’s not a finished product yet, but Atlanta’s patience with Bosher could end up paying off.

Scott Fowler wonders aloud if Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton should make the Pro Bowl. It’s starting to look like at least a possibility. The Panthers aren’t winning, but Newton’s statistics are outstanding. If he can add a few wins, he’s got a chance.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees already has been sacked 19 times. That’s more than he’s been sacked in most of his full seasons in New Orleans. It’s not hard to figure out what’s going on here. The Saints have had a lot of turnover on their offensive line. Veteran right tackle Jon Stinchcomb was released in training camp. Center Olin Kreutz, who was brought in to replace Jonathan Goodwin, abruptly retired. Zach Strief, who replaced Stinchcomb, has missed five games with a knee injury. The Saints simply don’t have the continuity they once did on the offensive line. It’s going to take some time to get that back.

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, who is out for the season with his third major knee injury, said he wants to return next year. Davis said he’s willing to restructure his contract. He’ll have to take a cut in pay to stay in Carolina or land anywhere else. Davis is due an $8 million bonus in March and there’s no way the Panthers are going to pay that to someone who has had so many injuries. Restructuring is possible, but the Panthers may simply cut Davis and then see if they can bring him back later at a much lower salary.

Tampa Bay long-snapper Andrew Economos has recovered from a torn Achilles tendon and will make his season debut Sunday in New Orleans.