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Friday, July 26, 2013
NFC South afternoon update

By Pat Yasinskas

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- I’m about to head out to watch the Atlanta Falcons practice. But, first, let’s take a quick trip through the headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Michael Cunningham writes that rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant had a rough first practice on Thursday. That was to be expected. Trufant got victimized several times by Julio Jones. Lots of defensive backs have been beaten by Jones, who is one of the top receivers in the league. The upside to this is that competing against Jones on a daily basis is going to help get Trufant ready for the regular season.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

With Atlanta’s Matt Ryan getting a new contract Thursday, Cam Newton was asked if that made him think about eventually getting his own contract extension. The quarterback, who hasn’t always handled the media to perfection, gave the right answer. Newton said he’s focused on wins and not thinking about his contract situation. If Newton produces enough wins, the contract situation eventually will take care of itself.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Mike Triplett writes that Will Smith worked at strong-side linebacker and Junior Galette worked at the “Jack’’ linebacker position. That’s surprising because the “Jack’’ position is expected to include a lot of pass rushing and Smith is a converted defensive end. But I wouldn’t read too much into this just yet. The Saints are likely to do a lot of experimentation with their new defense and Smith could end up back at the “Jack’’ position. Martez Wilson also is likely to get some first-team work and could end up with a starting position.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Roy Cummings writes that Tampa Bay’s overhauled secondary looked good in Friday’s practice. That’s what the Bucs were aiming for when they went out and got veterans Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson and drafted Johnthan Banks. Revis isn’t even taking part in team drills yet. But the early evidence of improvement is a very encouraging sign for the Bucs.