Time for a look at the top Monday morning headlines from around the NFC South.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera said he plans to be a little more involved with the defense in his second season. That’s a good thing. Rivera is a coach with a strong defensive background, and Carolina’s defense struggled in his first season. Now that he has a grasp of his duties as a head coach, that should give Rivera a little more time to get involved with the defense.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham, a potential free agent, said he’s 75 percent sure he’s done with the New York Giants. Keep an eye on this one Tampa Bay fans. The Bucs need help at receiver. Former Giants quarterback coach Mike Sullivan knows Manningham well, and is now the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay.
Former Atlanta and Carolina linebacker Chris Draft is working to raise awareness about lung cancer after losing his wife to the disease. Draft’s wife never smoked, and a big part of his message is that non-smokers can get the disease.
Tampa Bay’s coaching staff and scouting staff are going through an important adjustment period. The scouting staff is trying to get a grasp on what the new coaches like in players at various positions. The Bucs might be a bit behind in this process because coach Greg Schiano was hired late and it took some time for him to fill out his staff.
The Falcons won’t begin their offseason program until April 23. That’s not uncommon. All teams will be starting around that same time. That’s about a month later than in the past, but the new collective bargaining agreement cut down the time teams are allowed to hold offseason programs.
Penn State’s Devon Still caused a bit of a stir at the combine by saying he’s “hands down’’ the top defensive tackle in the draft. Some say that honor belongs to LSU’s Michael Brockers. Either way, it’s likely the Panthers are keeping a close eye on both. They have the No. 9 pick in the draft, and could be using it on a defensive tackle.