Sunday, July 29, 2012
Around the NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Let's take a run through the Sunday morning headlines from around the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Defensive tackle Brian Price, who was traded away by Tampa Bay for a seventh-round pick in 2013, passed his physical with the Chicago Bears. Price had some injury troubles in his time with Tampa Bay. He also had an altercation with former teammate Mark Barron and was struggling with his emotions after the death of his sister in a car accident in the spring. Chicago general manager Phil Emery said Price simply needs a fresh start. I think he has a point. Price has good physical skills and can be a very good player when he’s focused on the game. But things had come to a point where he wasn’t fitting in coach Greg Schiano’s system with the Buccaneers.
Scott Reynolds reports that Tampa Bay tight end Dallas Clark struggled with drops in Saturday’s practice. Clark’s a veteran and I think he’ll come around. But I still think there’s a chance you could see the Bucs bring in another tight end before the preseason ends.
The good news out of Carolina’s first practice was that the defense produced four interceptions. Safety Sherrod Martin picked off Cam Newton’s first pass of training camp. The bad news is that Newton threw three interceptions on the day.
Tom Sorensen salutes the virtues of Spartanburg, S.C., the camp home of the Carolina Panthers. As always, his column is entertaining, but you really need to see the picture that runs at the top of it.
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees spent part of his new $100 million contract with gifts for the fans.
But Saturday wasn’t completely perfect for Brees. He was angry after throwing a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Jabari Greer.
The Saints are roughly $9 million under the salary cap and fans are clamoring for them to go out and add a big-name pass-rusher. But that’s not likely to happen. The Saints already are over next year’s projected cap and, as Mike Triplett writes, they plan to utilize an NFL rule that allows them to carry over remaining cap space from this year to help free up room next year.
New Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter doesn’t have a history of getting a lot of production from his tight ends. But Tony Gonzalez, the most productive tight end in NFL history, said he’s comfortable with Koetter’s system.
Atlanta defensive end Lawrence Sidbury is excited about the arrival of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Sidbury showed some athleticism while recording four sacks last season. He says Nolan’s defense will allow him to better show his athleticism. That would be a good thing because the Falcons need someone besides John Abraham to put pressure on quarterbacks.