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Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
New Orleans coach Sean Payton offered his take on the NFC South race in his conference call with the Tampa Bay media Wednesday.
"It's always hard at the start of the season to predict where you think teams are going to fall in our division,'' Payton said. "We're sitting at 6-5, scratching and clawing and we're last in the division. There are other divisions where you might be tied for first with that record. But the fact is we're in this division and we've got our work cut out for us.''
Tight end Ben Hartsock went on the injured reserve list and the team signed Jason Rader to take his place. This might not seem like that big a deal, but Hartsock's blocking has been a big reason why Atlanta has been running the ball so well.
In a move aimed at stopping the recent slow starts, the Panthers practiced at a faster pace Wednesday. Not sure if that will change anything, but it's worth a shot.
Coach Jon Gruden campaigned for punter Josh Bidwell and kicker Matt Bryant to get a trip to Hawaii.
"Bidwell, he'll be in the Pro Bowl, I assume,'' Gruden said after Wednesday's practice. "Bryant will be in the Pro Bowl without a doubt for what he's done. Forget about all the circumstances for just a second. He makes all his kicks. He's an ice man. Those two guys have been superb.''