NFC South: Ed Block Courage Award
Here’s a good column that asks if the Falcons already have reached their peak. That’s a very valid question. They’ve had four winning seasons, but haven’t won a playoff game under Mike Smith. I think it’s fair to say the Falcons have reached their peak with what they’ve got. But I also think there is upside. This is a team with lots of talent. But some changes are needed as Atlanta moves forward. I’m not just talking about adding and subtracting a few players. I’m talking about some pretty significant tweaks to the offense and defense. The defense needs to come up with more big plays. The offense needs to find an identity. Quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t the type to spout of publicly. But he needs to have a good talk with Smith. Ryan hasn’t been able to hit his full potential. He needs to tell Smith what he’s most comfortable doing, and the Falcons need to do a better job of putting their franchise quarterback in position to succeed.
There’s a lot of talk about how the Saints aren’t as good on the road as they are at home as they get ready to head to San Francisco this weekend. No doubt there’s some truth in that. But I think this is getting overblown a bit. The Saints were 5-3 on the road in the regular season. That’s not bad. It might not be great, but the Saints are capable of winning on the road.
Tampa Bay’s entire coaching staff was let go when coach Raheem Morris was fired last week. But one member of that staff already has found a job. Receivers coach Eric Yarber has landed the same position at UCLA.
Veteran cornerback Ronde Barber has been selected as the winner of Tampa Bay’s Ed Block Courage Award.
In his weekly film study, Jeff Duncan writes that New Orleans rookie linebacker Martez Wilson is likely to continue getting more playing time. Wilson is athletic and can make an impact if the Saints use him on blitzes.
Charles Chandler writes that the future isn’t looking very bright for Carolina wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett.
The Panthers say a con artist has been posing as offensive lineman Travelle Wharton to dupe investors out of money.
Roy Cummings takes a look at why running back Derrick Ward has been so quiet in his first season with the Buccaneers.
The Saints chose defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who has overcome a series of off-field problems, as their winner of the Ed Block Courage Award.
Mark Bradley writes about how the prospect of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history means the Falcons have something to play for.
Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez says he’s coming back next year “for sure’’.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
The Panthers announced that quarterback Jake Delhomme has been selected as their winner of this year's Ed Block Courage Award.
Each of the league's 32 teams gives this award. The award is supposed to go to a guy who "exemplifies and displays courage'' and is voted on by players. There is no doubt Delhomme, who has made a successful return from Tommy John elbow surgery in 2007, fits that profile.