NFC South: Kai Forbath

Around the NFC South

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
9:47
AM ET
It's time for our Wednesday morning look at the top headlines from around the NFC South:

ATLANTA FALCONS

The team has had a 23-percent increase in television viewership during its 5-0 start. That’s not surprising. Winning attracts attention. Although Atlanta is a huge market, the franchise didn’t have a flattering history until the arrival of coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan and I think the region really is just starting to embrace the Falcons. As I walked into the Georgia Dome before the last home game, I could sense a more festive atmosphere. Just looking at the jerseys people were wearing, I also sensed that Ryan has finally grasped this town. I saw a lot of his jerseys and none of the guy (Michael Vick) who came before him, which is a departure from recent years.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

In this lengthy interview with Tom Sorensen, general manager Marty Hurney takes on the question of why he signed running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Hurney said he doesn’t regret either move and still believes that running backs set the tone for games. I’m just not sure his coaching staff has let those running backs set the tone this season.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

With the Saints in their bye week, here’s a look at some key moments from the first five games. It may seem difficult to fathom, but, if a few plays had gone differently, the Saints could have a winning record.

Quarterback Drew Brees has yet another endorsement.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Roy Cummings writes about how the offseason signing of receiver Vincent Jackson has helped fellow receiver Mike Williams. I think getting more out of Williams was part of the reason the Bucs went out and paid big money for Jackson. They wanted a No. 1 target to take defensive pressure off Williams. They also wanted to light a fire under Williams and give him an experienced professional to help show him how to go about his business.

Kicker Kai Forbath, who had a great preseason with the Bucs but wasn’t able to beat out Connor Barth, has been signed by the Redskins to replace Billy Cundiff.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The starting offense and defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played about as well as anyone could have hoped for in the first half of Friday night’s 30-28 preseason victory against the New England Patriots. But they also might have suffered a big loss.

With 1 minute, 5 seconds left in the second quarter and the Bucs leading 17-7, Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph went down with a right knee injury. Joseph was carted off the field.

Coach Greg Schiano said Joseph's injury "doesn't look good'' after the game. He said the team will get a full evaluation Saturday when more tests are performed.

If Joseph is lost for an extended period, it could have big consequences on a Tampa Bay offensive line that has the potential to be a big strength. The Bucs brought in All-Pro Carl Nicks and the hope is that he and Joseph could form the league’s best guard tandem. If the Bucs have to use Ted Larsen or Derek Hardman in Joseph’s place, there’s a big drop off.

Some other observations on the Bucs:
  • In what may have been a sign of things to come, the Bucs started rookie Doug Martin at running back. LeGarrette Blount had started the first two preseason games. Blount sustained a minor injury in the last preseason game, but didn’t miss any practice time. I think this was a case of the Bucs wanting to get an extended look at Martin with the first-team offense because that might be where he’s at in the regular season. Martin had 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 12 yards. Blount carried seven times for 22 yards and didn’t get his first carry until the second quarter.
  • Speaking of first-round picks, the Bucs had two of them score first-quarter touchdowns. Safety Mark Barron, the seventh overall pick in the draft, returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown near the end of the first quarter. Credit veteran defensive back Ronde Barber for deflecting the Tom Brady pass.
  • Quarterback Josh Freeman's overall stats (10-of-19 for 102 yards) weren’t that spectacular. But the first drive of the night was extremely encouraging. Freeman seemed in rhythm with Vincent Jackson, who the Bucs added as a free agent to be their No. 1 receiver. On the opening drive, the Bucs drove 68 yards on eight plays and 49 of those yards came on three completions from Freeman to Jackson.
  • Left tackle Donald Penn, who missed all of training camp with a calf injury, got the start and his first playing time of the preseason.
  • Tampa Bay’s defensive line got some decent pressure on Brady. Defensive end Michael Bennett had an early sack and George Johnson batted down a Brady pass.
  • Speaking of the pass rush, I think linebacker Adam Hayward is, at very least, earning himself some playing time as a situational pass-rusher. Hayward sacked Brady with a little more than six minutes left in the second quarter.
  • Tampa Bay’s kickers had an excellent night. Connor Barth made a 56-yard field goal. Kai Forbath connected on attempts from 55 and 51 yards. The job belongs to Barth, but Forbath might be helping his chances of landing with another team.

NFC South evening update

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
5:40
PM ET
As we wait for Tuesday night’s release of the NFL regular-season schedule, let’s take a quick run through some NFC South notes.
  • Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano didn’t last too long into his first minicamp before clearly letting his players know things are going to be different. Schiano, who has a reputation for being very organized, didn’t like the way some of his players were lined up as they began stretching. “Football is about details -- toes on the edge, toes on the edge!’’ Schiano shouted. I don’t know if Schiano will end up being a successful NFL coach, but it already is obvious he’s about as different from predecessor Raheem Morris as a coach can be.
  • Speaking of the Bucs and their toes, kicker Connor Barth was a notable no show as minicamp began. Barth is carrying the franchise tag and has yet to sign his tender. Barth clearly wants a long-term deal and I believe the Bucs want him to be their kicker for a long time. They have plenty of salary-cap room to work with, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a long-term deal comes between now and the start of training camp. If Barth ends up playing for the tender, he’ll make $2.654 million, which isn’t bad money for a kicker. The Bucs just announced that they have claimed kicker Kai Forbath off waivers from Dallas. Unless things get really ugly in the negotiations with Barth, Forbath probably won't end up staying with the Bucs for long.
  • Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, the man who released audiotapes of former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talking to his players the night before last season’s playoff game in San Francisco, has talked to the media several times about why he did what he did. Now, Pamphilon has gone on camera to explain himself. Pamphilon also says he isn’t trying to “strong arm’’ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell into an interview in exchange for a copy of the tapes. But Pamphilon says he really, really would like to ask Goodell one question.
  • The Falcons have announced their schedule for minicamps and offseason workouts.
  • Friend and former co-worker Scott Fowler predicts the Panthers will get at least one and likely two nationally-televised games. I’ll go out on a limb and say before the night is over Carolina has at least two and possibly three prime-time games. Quarterback Cam Newton draws attention and the NFL and television networks like attention.
  • North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples said he visited with two NFC South teams. He visited the Bucs where he got to catch up with his former college coach Butch Davis, who is working as a senior advisor. But don’t look for Coples to end up with the Bucs who have more pressing needs than defensive ends. Coples also visited the Panthers and sounded like that meeting went well. I think it’s at least possible Coples could end up with the Panthers.
  • Peter King has his mock draft out. He has the Bucs taking LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 5. Absolutely no argument with that one. He has the Panthers taking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. I agree partly. If the Panthers decide to go with a defensive tackle and Cox is available, I think he’ll be the guy. But I’m not sure the Panthers will go with a defensive tackle.
  • The schedule will be announced at 7 p.m. ET. Start checking back here soon after that. I’ll be posting a quick schedule analysis for each of the four teams as quickly as possible.

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