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Friday, January 4, 2013
NFC South afternoon update

By Pat Yasinskas

Time for an afternoon run through some odds and ends from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

There’s some good news on the injury front. Cornerback Dunta Robinson, who suffered a concussion in the regular-season finale, was medically cleared and practiced Friday. Fellow cornerback Asante Samuel was excused from practice due to a death in his family.

A lot of the Falcons like to say they don’t think about their recent playoff problems. Kudos to tight end Tony Gonzalez, whose playoff drought extends back to his Kansas City days, for admitting the lack of postseason success bothers him. Maybe he and the Falcons can use that as motivation.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

All remains quiet as far as the future of coach Ron Rivera and the hiring of a general manager and I’ll update that if anything breaks. But, in the meantime, Max Henson has a breakdown of Carolina’s offense in the 2012 season.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Saints signed receiver Preston Parker to a futures contract. A lot of guys signed to futures contracts are never heard from again, but this is one to keep an eye on. Parker flashed some promise in his Tampa Bay days and could prosper in New Orleans’ offensive system.

Bradley Handwerger has a look at the team’s potential restricted free agents. Running back Chris Ivory and center Brian de la Puente head that list. Ivory wasn’t always happy about his playing time this past season, but I don’t see any way the Saints don’t put a tender on him.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Running back Doug Martin is a finalist for one rookie-of-the-year award. If you’re a Tampa Bay fan, go vote for him. He needs all the help he can get because he is up against quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.

Guard Davin Joseph was selected as the team’s Man of the Year, which makes him a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.