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Monday, December 28, 2009
Around the NFC South with the columnists

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for a Monday morning trip through the NFC South with the columnists.

Jim Mashek relates an old story about former general manager Jim Finks saying the Saints could “screw up a two-car funeral’’ and then applies that theory to Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. It fits pretty nicely.

Scott Fowler writes that the Panthers should keep John Fox for one more year. I’m starting to agree with that after Carolina’s looked so good in the last two games. There’s an old adage in the NFL that you don’t fire a coach unless you’re darn sure you can get somebody better. Fox has his flaws, but there aren’t that many coaches that are better than him. But we’ll soon find out if owner Jerry Richardson sees it that way.

Jeff Duncan says the current Saints are a long way from being a Super Bowl team.

Mark Bradley wonders if Matt Ryan is something less than a franchise quarterback. It’s a valid question because Ryan hasn’t been nearly as magical this year as he was as a rookie. But I think it’s too early to make any definitive call on Ryan. He’s been playing hurt and the Falcons have had issues around him. This guy is at least a good quarterback and I think next year truly will tell us if he’s a franchise quarterback.

Joe Henderson writes that the Glazer family that owns the Buccaneers could end the Bill Cowher rumors by saying something. They haven’t done that but that’s par for the course. The Glazers don’t like the spotlight and never have. They were around after Sunday’s victory against New Orleans and they were pleasant to reporters, but they weren’t touching the Cowher stuff. But, maybe, Raheem Morris’ showing against the Saints spoke volumes about the future of this franchise.