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Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

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

Jeff Schultz writes that the Falcons got it right when they hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. I agree totally. Steve Spagnuolo was the other big-name coordinator candidate out there and he’ll end up doing a fine job somewhere else (maybe even New Orleans). But I think Nolan is a better fit for the Falcons.

Spagnuolo reportedly will interview with New Orleans today. Just like I think Nolan is the better fit for the Falcons, I think Spagnuolo would be an excellent fit in New Orleans. The Falcons and Saints are two very different organizations. I think Nolan’s personality will allow him to fit in perfectly with the Falcons. Spagnuolo has a different style that could fit nicely with the Saints.

The Carolina Panthers don’t know who they’ll play in the 2012 opener yet, but they know it will be on the road. Team owner Jerry Richardson said the team will open on the road because the Democratic National Convention will be taking place and some of the events will be held at Bank of America Stadium.

Roy Cummings writes that Tampa Bay’s lengthy search for a new head coach isn’t out of the ordinary. He’s right and he points to how it took the Bucs a good bit of time to hire Tony Dungy and trade for Jon Gruden in the past. I can think of a few others that dragged out but seemed to work out fine. Carolina’s hiring of John Fox in 2002 went late into January. Same for last year when the Panthers went through a methodical process before hiring Ron Rivera.