Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Around the NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Reaction to the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program continues to dominate the headlines around the NFC South, although there is some other news. Let’s take a look at Wednesday morning’s top stories from around the division.
Doug Plank said that bounties for hurting players were never part of the system in Buddy Ryan’s famous defense in Chicago in the 1980s. Plank said there were small rewards for big plays or big hits, but said he was never aware of instructions to intentionally hurt an opponent.
Former Carolina safety Mike Minter said the Panthers had an incentive program among players during his career. But Minter said the rewards were for things like defensive players making interceptions or forcing fumbles and players making big plays on special teams. He said there were no incentives for causing injuries.
Randy Moss reportedly performed very well in his Tuesday workout with the Saints. It does not appear that New Orleans has offered the wide receiver a contract and he reportedly could be working out elsewhere in the coming days. But the Saints now have a gauge on what kind of shape the 35-year-old is in and it sounds like they’re impressed. If they lose Marques Colston or Robert Meachem in free agency, the Saints then may decide to make an offer to Moss.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers very quietly signed tight end Chase Coffman, who was out of the NFL last year. This might not turn out to be much of anything because Coffman has had an unproductive career. But signing him is worth a shot because Coffman appeared to have some upside when he was a third-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. Coffman also has a friendship with Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman.
Former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer, who played for Ron Turner with the Chicago Bears, had high praise for Tampa Bay’s new quarterbacks coach. Kramer said he thinks Turner will be a big help to Freeman. That’s exactly what the Bucs are hoping for. Despite a disappointing 2011 season, the Bucs still view Freeman as their franchise quarterback and want to get him back on track.