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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
NFC South afternoon update

By Pat Yasinskas

Time to catch up on some news and notes from all corners of the division:

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

General manager Mark Dominik said the first step in deciding if Ronde Barber will return for another year will be for the veteran defensive back to decide if he wants to continue playing. Dominik said there’s no big rush. I suspect this will be similar to last year when Barber made his decision in March. I’m sure the Bucs would like to have Barber back. But, if he chooses to retire, the best-case scenario for the team is to get word before the start of free agency, so other options can be explored.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Offensive tackle Zach Strief was voted as the winner of the Jim Finks Good Guy Award by the writers that cover the team on a daily basis. Good call. I’ve been in the New Orleans locker room and can attest that, even after a loss, Strief is cooperative and insightful.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Joseph Person reports that running backs coach John Settle was fired. I think this might be just the first of several staff moves by coach Ron Rivera, although I think coordinators Rob Chudzinski and Sean McDermott are safe.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Some Atlanta fans might have trouble recalling a playoff victory by the Falcons. But Michael Cunningham catches up with Steve Bartkowski, who very clearly remembers the first postseason victory in franchise history. It came on Dec. 24, 1978 and Bartkowski was the quarterback in a win against Philadelphia at Fulton County Stadium.