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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

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

After spending big money to add defensive end Ray Edwards via free agency, the Falcons still haven’t had much of a pass rush. The Falcons are tied for 24th in the league with 25 sacks.

Good column by Gary Shelton. He says it wouldn’t make much, if any sense, for the Buccaneers to finish the season with an interim head coach and points to the ugly history of interim coaches. I agree totally that the Bucs should not go this route. Even if a decision has been made to fire Raheem Morris, the Bucs should wait until the season ends. An interim coach wouldn’t make things any different. In fact, there isn’t an assistant on Tampa Bay’s staff that would even qualify to serve as interim head coach. There’s no defensive coordinator because Morris handles that role. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson also is on the hot seat and he’s not the guy you want to put in front of the media every day during a crisis situation. Once upon a time, Morris had Jim Bates, who perfectly fit the profile (experienced and calm) of interim head coach, as the defensive coordinator. But Bates was fired midway through the 2009 season.

The Panthers have a chance to have the most penalized season in franchise history. Receiver Steve Smith and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn are leading the way in major penalties.

The 4-9 Panthers are at the top of the league in one category. Pro Football Weekly ranks Carolina as one of the teams that has been impacted most by injuries.

The Buccaneers are optimistic cornerback Aqib Talib, who had been sidelined by a hamstring injury, will be able to play Saturday night against Dallas.

In his weekly film study on the Saints, Jeff Duncan points out New Orleans hasn’t turned the ball over in the last four games. If you can do that, you’re going to win a lot of games. He also points out rookie linebacker Martez Wilson, a talented but raw prospect, got perhaps his most extensive playing time of the season.