NFC South: Jim Popp

NFC South afternoon update

January, 9, 2013
1/09/13
5:26
PM ET
Time for an afternoon look at some odds and ends from around the division:

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Scott Reynolds mentions Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, LSU linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo and Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore as players the Bucs could target with the No. 13 overall pick in the draft. A lot can change with the college all-star games and the combine. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect the Bucs to look long and hard at a bunch of defensive prospects.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

General manager Mickey Loomis had a season wrap-up session with the local media. There were a fair amount of questions about the future that he couldn’t touch. But Loomis did say that contracts have been offered to the assistant coaches whose deals are expiring. There have been reports that offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer no longer are under contract. Carmichael has interviewed for the spot as the head coach in Chicago.

The Saints made the official announcement that coach Sean Payton has signed a contract extension. The two sides agreed to the terms of a deal more than a week ago, but it took some time to work out the final details.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

The Panthers have hired Dave Gettleman as their general manager. I'll have analysis on this shortly.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Defensive end John Abraham (ankle) and safety William Moore (hamstring) each practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Coach Mike Smith said he expects both players to be ready for Sunday’s playoff game with Seattle.

Around the NFC South

January, 9, 2013
1/09/13
9:27
AM ET
Time for a morning trip through the headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

For the second straight year, Atlanta is losing its director of player personnel. Dave Caldwell has been hired as the general manager in Jacksonville. That comes a year after Les Snead left for St. Louis. Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff has a deep and talented staff in place. But it’s logical to speculate about the chances of Scott Pioli ending up with the Falcons. He used to be Dimitroff’s boss in New England.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

The team interviewed New York Giants college scouting director Marc Ross and Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp on Tuesday for the general manager job. But there are more interviews coming this week. The Panthers are expected to interview five or six candidates and a decision might not come until next week.

If Ron Rivera gets off to a slow start next season, fans can start screaming for Bill Cowher -- again. The former Pittsburgh coach, who has a home in North Carolina, said he wants to return to the NFL at some point.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Bradley Handwerger has his list of the most memorable plays of the season. The top two plays were memorable for all the wrong reasons. But, at No. 3, he has the play where safety Malcolm Jenkins chased down Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson to prevent a touchdown. That play didn’t define the Saints’ season, but it might have been the team’s best play of the year.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Mark Cook has a list of the potential class of free-agent quarterbacks. It is far from impressive. That’s another reason why I think that, if the Bucs do add a quarterback to compete with Josh Freeman, it will come through the draft.
The Carolina Panthers’ search for a general manager won’t be limited to the borders of the United States.

Long-time Canadian Football League general manager Jim Popp is getting some attention and likely will be one of five or six candidates to interview for the job next week, according to league sources. Although Popp has spent the bulk of his career in Canada, he does have some ties to the Carolinas.

He’s a native of Elkin, N.C., and also was an assistant coach at The Citadel and the University of North Carolina. Owner Jerry Richardson is a North Carolina native, and has always shown a willingness to hire people from the Carolinas.

The Panthers also reportedly will talk to Dave Gettelman, Marc Ross and George Paton, and there has been one report that they also could be interested in Lake Dawson.

But, as I’ve been saying, don’t rule out the possibility of Richardson simply promoting interim general manager Brandon Beane. Although Beane doesn’t have a deep scouting background, he’s a longtime Carolina employee, who worked his way up through the ranks to become the right-hand man of former general manager Marty Hurney and had been taking on added responsibilities in recent years. Beane already knows the landscape in Carolina, and has a good relationship with Richardson.

Saturday’s news that Ron Rivera will stay as the coach also could work in Beane’s favor. Rivera and Beane worked well together, and the Panthers won the final four games of the season and got contributions from several players Beane signed.

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