Friday, January 6, 2012
Around the NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Time to check out the biggest headlines from around the division. You'll notice we're going heavy on the Falcons and Saints. There's a reason for that. They're still playing.
During the regular season, the Falcons kept a strict limit on John Abraham’s plays and used a rotation at defensive end. But there will be no limits in the postseason. I like this move a lot. There’s no question Abraham needed to be limited in the regular season because there is no way the veteran would have endured a full season if he had played all the time. But it makes sense to turn him loose now that every game could be the last of the season. Besides, Abraham should be highly motivated to show he has something left in the tank. His contract is up as soon as the season ends.
Audio from the Saints’ sideline showed that quarterback Drew Brees was concerned about helping teammates Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles reach records, but didn’t want any more attention for himself. That’s simply what you would expect from Brees. It isn’t this way with everyone in the league, but what you see is what you get with Brees.
The Saints did a good job of keeping Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson in check when they met in the regular season. They’ll likely use a similar scheme against him in the playoff game.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who’s not known as the loosest coach in the NFL, seemed relaxed Thursday. Consider that a sign he feels like his team is looking good as it prepares for the Falcons.
Safety Louis Delmas is expected to return for the Lions after missing extensive time with a knee injury. He was one of several defenders that were out the last time the Lions played the Saints, so New Orleans will be looking at a different defense.
In this Insider post, Mel Kiper ranks Tampa Bay as the fourth-best available coaching job based on the existing roster. He has only Jacksonville ranked beneath the Bucs. Can’t say I disagree.
Martin Fennelly writes that it looks like Mike Sherman is the front-runner for the Tampa Bay job, but he’s not going to excited the fan base. Probably true, but the two or three guys that actually would excite the fan base aren’t returning to coaching or aren’t coming to Tampa Bay. Sherman’s better than what the Bucs had -- and so are the rest of the guys they’re interviewing. He’d at least bring some stability to an organization that hasn’t had any. It might take some time to win over the fan base, but at least he’d control the locker room from the start.