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Around the NFC South

10/10/2012

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.