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Friday, December 14, 2012
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas

Time for a look at the top Friday morning headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Dan Reeves, who coached the 1998 team to a Super Bowl berth, reflects on that magical season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has thrived since taking over as the leader of the defense. With the departure of Curtis Lofton in the offseason, Weatherpsoon took on the duties of wearing the radio helmet and calling the defensive signals. Besides that he’s also become a better player and a more vocal leader.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

On a Carolina coaching staff that has many ties to San Diego, none runs deeper than that of offensive quality-control coach Scott Turner. He’s the son of Chargers coach Norv Turner. They usually talk on the phone every day, but they’ve put that practice on hold this week as their teams get ready to play.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Mike Triplett brings up a good point when he writes that speculation about the future of coach Sean Payton is sure to heat up next week when the Saints play at Dallas. Payton still is not officially under contract next season. He has deep Dallas ties. He worked there as an assistant and has a strong relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Although Payton still is serving his suspension, the Saints are allowed to talk to him about a contract. There’s one easy way to avoid the speculation that would heat up when the Saints play the Cowboys. That would be to get Payton signed to a new contract before then.

The Saints will honor their newest Hall of Famer, offensive tackle Willie Roaf, at halftime of Sunday’s game.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Although the Bucs don’t run an offense that’s going to complete a high percentage of its passes, quarterback Josh Freeman said he’s got to be better than he was when he completed just 48 percent of his throws in the loss to Philadelphia.