NFC South: Greg White

Unsung heroes of the NFC South

November, 29, 2008
11/29/08
4:53
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Koenen

A few days ago, a reader sent a note to the mailbag, asking me to give some recognition to Atlanta punter Michael Koenen.

The note basically said that Koenen, who also kicks off and holds on extra points and field goals, is perhaps Atlanta's biggest unsung hero. So here's a little recognition for Koenen.

You look at his stats and nothing knocks you over. But consider the overall package and Koenen truly is an unsung hero. He simply goes out and does his job (make that three different jobs) very consistently. He's put 19 punts inside the 20-yard line, he does a nice job as a directional punter, his kickoffs are solid and he does a nice job as a holder.

That takes care of Koenen and the Falcons, but it's only fair to single out an unsung hero for each of the division's other teams.

PANTHERS

Jason Kyle is a name you might not have heard and that's a good thing. It means he's doing his job. Kyle is the long-snapper for the Panthers and he's as reliable as they come. He almost never has a bad snap and he can run down the field and make a tackle for you now and then.

BUCCANEERS

In five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Jimmy Wilkerson didn't do much of anything. In his first season with the Bucs, Wilkerson has four sacks as a backup defensive end. He's actually Tampa Bay's fourth end behind Kevin Carter, Gaines Adams and Greg White, but he's rotating in often and has landed in a good system.

SAINTS

A lot of people assume the Saints have a tremendous offensive line because quarterback Drew Brees so rarely gets sacked. That's not entirely true because much of the reason for that goes to an offensive system that doesn't use a lot of deep drops and because Brees excels at getting rid of the ball so quickly. The truth is the Saints don't have a lot of exceptional individual talent on their line, but they do work well together. The key to that may be right guard Jahri Evans, who is New Orleans' best offensive lineman. He truly has become the anchor of a line that seems to switch centers about every year. Evans, a former fourth-round pick from Bloomsburg, has blossomed into a very solid player. Don't be surprised if the Saints try to lock him up with a contract extension before the season ends.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

I've been wanting to do this ever since Sunday's game ended, but the Matt Bryant situation, obviously, took precedence.

Now, it's time to update an item I posted Saturday in which I said the Bucs don't yet have any defensive stars to take the baton from Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber. Well, that premise is outdated.

Second-year defensive end Gaines Adams is a star (and middle linebacker Barrett Ruud is very, very close to being one). I wasn't completely sold on Adams before Sunday. I thought he had promise after a nice rookie season. But I'm sold now.

Adams can rush the passer and even drop in coverage. Watching him Sunday, I think I saw what Carolina's Julius Peppers once was, but hasn't been in a long time.

As for the fan clubs of Aqib Talib, Jovan Haye, Greg White, Tanard Jackson and Cato June, I appreciate your efforts and they're all very nice players (and Talib and Jackson might become stars), but they're not there yet.

Oh, by the way, I said Brooks was old, but I never said he was washed up. He still can be dominant at times and he was on Sunday. I've said before and I've said it again, Brooks is the best player ever to play for an NFC South team.

Quick Take: Buccaneers 27, Bears 24

September, 21, 2008
9/21/08
6:55
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

A bunch of things jump out from the stat sheet from Tampa Bay's overtime victory. But let's focus on just a couple of guys, namely quarterback Brian Griese and defensive end Greg White.

Start with Griese. He threw 67 passes. According to ESPN's research department, only four quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown more passes in a single game. Here's a look at the top five of all-time:

Most Pass Attempts in a Game, All-time
YearQuarterbackAttemptsResult
1994 Drew Bledsoe 70 W, 26-20
2000 Vinny Testaverde 69 L, 34-20
2001 Jon Kitna 68 W, 26-23
1964 George Blanda 68 L, 24-10
2008 Brian Griese 67 W, 27-24 (OT)

That's a pretty stunning day for a journeyman who began the season as the backup to Jeff Garcia. It's even more stunning when you consider Griese did all this without top receiver Joey Galloway. A lot of people said the Bucs didn't have any playmakers besides Galloway. They do now. Antonio Bryant, who was out of the league last year, had 10 catches. Coach Jon Gruden's taken a lot of heat through the years for taking players who have been cast aside by other teams. But he sure looks like he's found a playmaker in Bryant.

Now, on to White. Very quietly, the Bucs signed White to a new contract a couple weeks ago. That's looking like a very good move. White has had at least one sack in each game so far and he has 3.5 for the season. Veteran Kevin Carter still is very much in the mix. But, with White and second-year pro Gaines Adams, the Bucs are in great shape at defensive end for a long time.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

A look at the coverage from this morning's local newspapers:

SAINTS 

FALCONS

  • Safety Lawyer Milloy issued an apology to the team and fans after being charged with driving under the influence. Coach Mike Smith said the matter will be handled internally.
  • Rookie left tackle Sam Baker, who left Sunday's game early with a head injury, will be brought along slowly. The team hasn't said if Baker suffered a concussion, but that appears to be a possibility. Veteran Todd Weiner, who is coming off major knee surgery, finished the game in Baker's spot and could get a start this weekend.

PANTHERS

  • Although Carolina fans are celebrating the team's 2-0 start, general manager Marty Hurney is not. That's not the least bit surprising. Hurney is a worrier by nature. Watching his intensity during a game is almost painful. I've seen him almost wear out a pair of shoes while pacing and he's more than a little superstitious.
One of the more humorous Hurney stories came at a playoff game in the Meadowlands a few years ago. The Panthers were putting the finishing touches on a shutout of the Giants. A reporter friend I'll call "Stan'' picked up his phone and started making a hotel reservation for Chicago the following weekend.
When Hurney heard that, he turned as red as a fire truck and started yelling, "Hang up that phone now. Don't jinx us." To his credit, "Stan'' stayed on the phone and booked the reservation.

BUCCANEERS

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Douglas
Douglas

When Marques Douglas signed as a free agent with the Buccaneers back in March, he told the media he expected to be a starter at defensive end and shift inside to tackle for some passing downs.

That never came close to happening as Douglas was a disappointment in training camp. He never was able to climb the depth chart and that made him expendable. This obviously was not a good signing for the Bucs, but they realized it and at least may get something out of Douglas. The Bucs traded him this morning to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional draft pick in 2009.

The Bucs have second-year pro Gaines Adams as their starting right end. Initially, they thought Douglas could challenge veteran Kevin Carter and Greg White for the other starting spot or at least be a big part of the rotation. But Douglas, 31, didn't show much of anything in camp.

Carter apparently will hold onto the starting job. White, who outperformed Douglas, will play a role in the rotation. The final straw for Douglas might have been the play of Jimmy Wilkerson. He has had a strong preseason and can play both end and tackle. Wilkerson is likely to get playing time at tackle on passing downs.

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