NFC South: Devon Walker

Around the NFC South

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
10:22
AM ET
Time for a Thursday morning look at the top headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that as many as 10 or 11 Falcons have a shot at making the Pro Bowl. The rosters will be announced next week.

Wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones already have over 1,000 receiving yards. Tight end Tony Gonzalez only needs 120 yards to reach that mark. The Falcons have had only one season in which three players had 1,000 receiving yards. That was 1995 when Bert Emanuel, Terance Mathis and Eric Metcalf each had 1,000 yards.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Tom Sorensen writes that the new general manager, not owner Jerry Richardson, should be the one to decide if coach Ron Rivera stays. It’s important for the general manager to be comfortable with the coach. But the timing of the hire might make things a little more complicated. If the Panthers are slow in hiring a general manager after the season and that person ends up not wanting Rivera, it might be too late to make a move because the top coaching candidates already could have jobs.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Quarterback Drew Brees said he’d be shocked if Sean Payton isn’t back coaching the Saints next season. There was a time when I thought the same thing. But, with each day that goes by with continued uncertainty about Payton’s contract situation, the chance of him becoming a free agent seems to grow.

The Saints recently paid a visit to Tulane player Devon Walker, who suffered a spinal injury in September.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Despite their four-game losing streak, the Bucs say this isn’t a repeat of last season when the team lost 10 straight games to end the season and it appeared numerous players gave up. The best way to prove that would be to bounce back and play well in the final two games.

Although quarterback Josh Freeman has struggled recently, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said the team remains excited about Freeman’s "body of work" this season. But, like the rest of the team, it would be nice to see Freeman finish the season on an upswing.

NFC South evening update

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
6:10
PM ET
It’s the players’ day off around the NFC South, but some news and notes are still surfacing. Let’s take a run through the latest headlines:
  • With Brent Grimes lost to a season-ending injury, the Falcons are expected to work out some cornerbacks Wednesday. D. Orlando Ledbetter has a list of the veteran cornerbacks available. As you might expect the list of guys available is not that impressive at this time of year. The name that jumped out at me most was Lito Sheppard. I have no idea what he has left physically. But Shepperd was a very good cornerback earlier in his career and might be able to still give the Falcons something, just based on his wisdom. The Falcons did announce Tuesday afternoon they’ve signed cornerback Terrence Johnson, who spent last season with Indianapolis. But the Falcons may be looking for someone with more experience than Johnson.
  • The mother of former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand says she and her son will make themselves available to help Tulane player Devon Walker and his family. Walker suffered a spinal injury last weekend. LeGrand was paralyzed in a 2010 game while playing for coach Greg Schiano, who moved to Tampa Bay this year. In a symbolic gesture, the Bucs signed LeGrand as a free agent after the draft.
  • In his weekly film study, Mike Triplett writes that the New Orleans defense spent Sunday on its heels against the Redskins. We knew not to expect new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to blitz as often as Gregg Williams did. But Triplett puts out the few times the Saints blitzed early on produced disastrous results.
  • Stephen Holder points out that the fact the Bucs used recently-acquired cornerback Brandon McDonald ahead of Myron Lewis on Sunday probably does not bode well for Lewis’ future with the team. Lewis might have a tough time staying on the roster once E.J. Biggers and Anthony Gaitor return from injuries.
  • Although Tampa Bay’s rookie class is drawing rave reviews for its performance in the opener, Carolina’s is not. Bryan Strickland points out that linebacker Luke Kuechly got burned on Tampa Bay’s first touchdown drive, cornerback Josh Norman got flagged for pass interference and guard Amini Silatolu drew a couple penalties and lost some one-on-one battles.

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