Tuesday, August 21, 2012
NFC South evening update
By Pat Yasinskas
Time for a look at the day's top headlines from around the NFC South:
According to Daniel Cox, Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson believes the Falcons can have the league’s No. 1 pass defense. That’s a very lofty goal, but I do think the Falcons have the talent to be very good in the secondary. Of course, for that talent to truly excel, the Falcons could use a little more help from the pass rush.
Although the Falcons have made plenty of noise about limiting Michael Turner’s workload, coach Mike Smith reiterated Tuesday that Turner will remain an integral part of the offense and remains the No. 1 back. Forget the conspiracy theories on this one. The Falcons mean what they’re saying. Turner still is going to be their top running back, but the days of giving him more than 300 carries in a season are over. Jacquizz Rodgers will get increased carries, but he’s not going to get nearly as many as Turner.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
This story is about the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Tampa Bay fans should be glad that it’s not about their team. The Jaguars have announced they’ll play one home game in London each of the next four years. It’s not at all a stretch to imagine the Jaguars eventually making their permanent home in London because that seems to be something commissioner Roger Goodell really seems to want. It wasn’t all that long ago the Bucs appeared to be the favorite for London. But the Glazer family pulled out of the London rotation, saying they had some things they wanted to try to work out their attendance issues in Tampa Bay. I’m not sure the Bucs have those attendance issues worked out, but at least they’re making an effort.
Receiver Jordan Shipley, claimed off waivers from Cincinnati by Tampa Bay on Monday, said he’s fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered last year. I’m not sure the Bengals agree with that or else they might have held onto him. The Bucs are giving Shipley a look as a slot receiver and return man.
Former Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden will be profiled on HBO’s “Real Sports’’ on Tuesday night.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Some encouraging news out of New Orleans, where middle linebacker Curtis Lofton says he’ll be ready for the regular-season opener. Lofton has a high-ankle sprain. It’s great that Lofton is so optimistic, but his type of injury sometimes can drag on longer than a player would like.
The Saints have some injury issues at wide receiver. But quarterback Drew Brees said the guys that are healthy have to pick up the slack.
Defensive end Turk McBride and running back Darren Sproles returned to practice Tuesday after missing time with injuries.
Bryan Strickland has a column on the phenomenon that is Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. He already gets more media and fan attention than any of player in franchise history. But teammates say that Newton truly is one of the guys. That’s not just the company line. I heard the same thing repeatedly from Newton’s teammates when I visited during training camp.
Max Henson has a feature on linebacker James Anderson, who might be the forgotten man in Carolina’s linebacker corps. First-round draft pick Luke Kuechly obviously is getting a lot of attention and so are veterans Jon Beason and Thomas Davis as they return from injuries. But Anderson showed his worth last year and I think he could still be in the starting lineup this season.