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Monday, August 12, 2013
NFC South afternoon update

By Pat Yasinskas

Let's take this opportunity to run through some odds and ends from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

The Falcons showed elements of the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses in the preseason opener. Get used to it and get used to seeing Kroy Biermann bounce between defensive end and linebacker. Coach Mike Smith said he wants his defense to be more flexible this year.

The Falcons released their second depth chart, but it doesn’t include any major changes.

Offensive tackles Lamar Holmes and Ryan Schraeder were among the leaders in snaps in the preseason opener. Look for that trend to continue throughout the preseason. After losing Mike Johnson to a season-ending injury, the Falcons have to find out what they’ve got in their young tackles.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Pete Prisco, whose opinion I value and respect as much as anyone’s in the business, said he believes quarterback Cam Newton has matured.

Undrafted free-agent fullback Michael Zordich, who was doing some good things in camp, will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason opener.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Linebacker Curtis Lofton had to leave Monday morning’s practice early. But coach Sean Payton said Lofton was dealing with dehydration.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Guard Carl Nicks, who missed much of last season with a foot injury, said he expects to make his return to action in Friday’s preseason game at New England. Nicks said he likely will have to play through pain the rest of his career. That’s a bit of a concern when you’re talking about a foot that has to support about 350 pounds.

In this Insider piece, Gary Horton takes a look at key players that are coming back from injuries. Tampa Bay’s Darrelle Revis and Davin Joseph are on the list.