Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Around the NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Let's take a look at the top Tuesday headlines from around the division.
- Bradley Handwerger’s series of questions on the Saints explores whether running back Mark Ingram will take on a bigger role in his second season. I think outside expectations were way too high on Ingram last year. Sure, he was a first-round pick, but the Saints are a team with a recent history of not asking their rookies to carry too heavy a load. Plus, Ingram started off the season working in tandem with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. After that, he got hurt and the numbers for his rookie season ended up being unimpressive. But I think you’ll see a more productive season out of Ingram, if he’s fully healthy. But he still is going to be sharing the workload with Sproles, Thomas and Chris Ivory, so the numbers might not be overwhelming.
- The Saints report to training camp Tuesday. They’ll be going through physical exams and meetings the first two days and won’t hit the practice field until late Thursday afternoon. Interim coach Joe Vitt and quarterback Drew Brees are scheduled to address the media on Tuesday afternoon.
- The Times-Picayune reaches No. 2 in its countdown of the top 25 Saints. This spot is occupied by tight end Jimmy Graham. Gee, I wonder who possibly could be No. 1?
- Here’s a look at how the arrival of Asante Samuel will impact the Falcons at cornerback. Perhaps the most important thing here is that Samuel’s arrival will allow Dunta Robinson to slide inside and match up with slot receivers. That’s something Robinson likes to do. It doesn’t matter if Samuel or Robinson technically is listed as the starter opposite Brent Grimes. There is going to be plenty of playing time for all three cornerbacks.
- Joesph Person takes a deeper look at the two trades the Carolina Panthers made Monday. They shipped offensive tackle Jeff Otah to the Jets for a conditional pick and acquired wide receiver Louis Murphy from Oakland for a conditional pick. The conditional picks are late-round choices that offset one another. So the Panthers basically traded Otah, who has had a history of injuries and no longer was a great fit in Carolina’s offensive scheme, for Murphy, a young receiver with some upside. Again, Carolina’s offense has changed. Wide receivers are at a premium because the Panthers will be using lots of three- and four-receiver sets.
- Tampa Bay defensive tackle Brian Price, who has been struggling emotionally after losing his sister in a car accident this offseason, said he expects to join his teammates when they report to training camp later this week. Price’s situation has brought some angst and uncertainty because he’s been away from the team much of the preseason. It still remains to be seen what kind of shape Price, who has had some injury problems in the past and said he has worked out in California with trainers, will be in. But a healthy Price and Gerald McCoy on the interior could give the Bucs the foundation for a solid defensive line.