NFC South: Carlton Powell

The NFC South is a division without a dominant defensive tackle.

But I think it’s fair to say Atlanta’s Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux, New Orleans’ Sedrick Ellis and Tampa Bay’s Brian Price were the best the NFC South had to offer in 2011. Apparently, their coaches agreed.

According to playing-time numbers obtained by ESPN.com, Ellis led all NFC South tackles by taking part in 66.3 percent of New Orleans’ 1,061 defensive plays. That percentage ranked Ellis No. 16 in the NFL and he was the only NFC South player in the top 20.

Peters was next at 60.4 percent, which ranked No. 23 in the league. Babineaux was No. 30 at 54.1 percent. Price, who was somewhat limited by injuries and was sent home early from one game by former coach Raheem Morris, took part in 47.1 percent of Tampa Bay’s defensive plays. That tied him at No. 37 in the league with teammate Roy Miller.

Carolina rookie Terrell McClain was one spot behind them, taking part in 46 percent of his team’s defensive plays. After that, there was a big drop off among the rest of the division’s tackles and we should note that Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy probably would have finished in the top four or five in the NFC South if he hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury.

Let’s take a look at the percentage of playing time for the rest of the NFC South defensive tackles:

Falcons promote QB John Parker Wilson

December, 2, 2011
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The Falcons made a minor, but interesting, roster move while we were holding Friday’s NFC South chat.

The team elevated quarterback John Parker Wilson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. The Falcons also waived defensive tackle Carlton Powell.

Starting quarterback Matt Ryan and backup Chris Redman are both healthy. I also don’t think there are any plans of moving Wilson ahead of Redman, at least not in the short term.

Given all the quarterback injuries around the league, I’m guessing either some team tried to sign Wilson off the practice squad or the Falcons were anticipating such a move and acted proactively.

Inactives for the Falcons

November, 20, 2011
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ATLANTA -- In addition to rookie receiver Julio Jones, who is sitting out with a hamstring injury, the Falcons have announced their other six inactives for Sunday’s game with Tennessee.

They are tackle Sam Baker, safety William Moore, cornerback Darrin Walls, center Brett Romberg, defensive tackle Carlton Powell and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

William Moore out for Falcons

November, 13, 2011
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ATLANTA -- Falcons safety William Moore (quadriceps) will not play in Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

James Sanders will start in his place. In addition to Moore, the inactives for the Falcons are defensive back Darrin Walls, linebacker Spencer Adkins, center Brett Romberg, tackle Sam Baker, and defensive linemen Carlton Powell and Cliff Matthews.

John Abraham out for Falcons

October, 9, 2011
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ATLANTA – There’s some pretty major pregame news from the Falcons. Defensive end John Abraham will not play in Sunday night’s game with Green Bay.

Abraham has been declared inactive. He was added to the injury report Friday with a hip injury. With Abraham out, the Falcons likely will look to Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury to share time at his spot.

The other inactives for the Falcons are cornerback Darrin Walls, running back Antone Smith, center Todd McClure, offensive lineman Mike Johnson, defensive tackle Carlton Powell and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Joe Hawley is expected to start in place of McClure, who has a knee injury.
Some tough injury news out of Atlanta.

D. Orlando Ledbetter reports that Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux will be out three to five weeks with a partially torn ACL, according to his agent. The team hasn’t given an update on the injury yet.

But losing Babineaux, perhaps the top defensive tackle in the NFC South, isn’t going to help a defense that struggled in the opener. The Falcons played Chicago without Corey Peters, a starter last season. Peters was out with a knee injury, but coach Mike Smith indicated Monday there’s at least hope Peters will be able to return this week against Philadelphia.

If Peters is ready, the Falcons likely would start him next to Peria Jerry. If Peters can’t play this week, the Falcons would be very thin in the middle of the defensive line. After Jerry, Vance Walker and Carlton Powell are the only other defensive tackles. Both are career backups.
It’s been a pretty quiet day in the NFC South, particularly in Carolina and New Orleans. Tampa Bay’s the hot spot right now because the Buccaneers have some practice sessions open to the media this week and the Falcons are keeping active. I’ve got a few minor notes that I’ve stored up throughout the day.

The Buccaneers signed defensive end Carlton Powell to a two-year contract while releasing cornerback Darrell Pasco. Powell’s a long shot, but the Bucs have room for long shots to come through, especially at defensive end. Powell was a fifth-round pick by Denver in 2008 and spent some time on Cleveland’s practice squad.

As I mentioned Monday, Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith hosted his second annual Huddle Up For Miracles dinner. I’ve got a little update. The event raised nearly $200,000, about the same as last year. No surprise here: Wide receiver Roddy White, who is one of the more charismatic Falcons, came in with the most tips of all the Falcons who helped out as celebrity waiters. White raised more than $8,000. Safety Thomas DeCoud was the winner in the karaoke contest.

In what’s probably the biggest news of the day in the NFC South, Tampa Bay running back Derrick Ward showed up after not being around for Monday’s OTA day. More surprisingly, Ward talked to the media, something he rarely did last season. He said he was keeping quiet because he was unhappy about the team losing, but wasn’t pouting about playing a rather insignificant role behind Cadillac Williams.

By the way, I have received an advance copy of New Orleans coach Sean Payton’s book, which is scheduled for release in June. I hope to dive into that in the next couple of days and will give you a quick book report.

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