NFC South: Mike Kenn
The Falcons just announced that Sanders will be the eighth member of the Ring of Honor.
"Deion Sanders is widely regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the 91-year history of the National Football League," Falcons Owner & CEO Arthur Blank said. "He epitomized excellence on the playing field and was a tremendously gifted athlete who possessed great speed. Deion excelled as a defender, kick returner, punt returner and on offense on his way to establishing 12 club records. He was an electrifying performer who put fans on the edge of their seats every time he manned his cornerback position or dropped back to receive a kickoff or field a punt. He is without question one of the greatest players in the history of our franchise."
Blank pretty nicely summed up what Sanders did for the Falcons from 1989 through 1993. Sanders will join William Andrews, Steve Bartkowski, Mike Kenn, Claude Humphrey, Tommy Nobis, Jessie Tuggle and Jeff Van Note in the Ring of Honor.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame released the preliminary nominees for the Class of 2010 on Saturday and there are plenty of candidates with NFC South ties.
I’d say the NFC South candidates clearly are headed by former New Orleans linebacker Rickey Jackson. After that, there’s a pretty far drop off. Sam Mills and Dan Reeves might be legitimate candidates. Doug Williams might even fall into that category.
The rest of the list of guys with NFC South ties is Cornelius Bennett, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Jay Hilgenberg, Mike Kenn, Dexter Manley, Clay Matthews, Eric Metcalf, Hardy Nickerson, Bum Phillips, Gerald Riggs, Reggie Roby, George Rogers, Pat Swilling and Darryl Talley.
The Falcons will be introducing two new players into their Ring of Fame this Sunday. Defensive end Claude Humphrey and offensive tackle Mike Kenn will be honored at halftime of this weekend's contest against Tampa Bay.
If Atlanta's Arthur Blank had the worst 2007 of any NFL owner, then perhaps he is having the best 2008, writes Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Despite taking over the division's No. 1 spot with a win over Tampa Bay on MNF, the Panthers know the title isn't theirs quite yet.
Spending the offseason hunting for running backs is really paying off for the Panthers, who have the most heralded duo in the league in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
New Orleans Saints
Despite a stellar passing game led by Drew Brees, the Saints have found the most success when the offense is balanced by the running game, writes Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune.
The Saints know they are a long shot, but coach Sean Payton knows as long as he sees his team's name in the "others" column, they aren't out of it yet.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs need to figure out how to be a better team on the road, says St. Petersburg Times columnist John Romano.
Veteran Joey Galloway did not play on Monday night, and coach Jon Gruden says the team has "moved on" from depending on him as an 18- to 20-play per game receiver.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Humphrey spent 10 seasons with the Falcons and recorded a franchise-best 94.5 sacks while appearing in six Pro Bowls. Kenn spent his entire 17-year career with the Falcons, starting every game he played in.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas.
Appreciate you guys filling up the mailbag so quickly. I had been doing mailbag posts once a week, but it didn't take long to realize that's not often enough to keep up with your questions. Keep sending them and I'll keep answering.
Here's the next edition:
Daryl in Alberta, Canada writes: I see nothing wrong with holding Galloway out of camp and exhibition games, especially if he does actually have an injury, even if it's minor. I would play him more than need be even if he wasn't. But should I be worried that this is a sign? Galloway is 36 now and never been the most durable, without him this team is in huge trouble. Garcia's injury really has me worried though. I know he's tough and plays through pain but he hasnt played 16 games since '02 and I have little faith in the players backing him up. This seems like soemthing that has already dragged out and something that could hinder him to start the season. What do you think? Is Garcia going to be 100% in Week 1 and is Galloway something to be concerned about?
Pat Yasinskas: Galloway's back at practice now and I think the Bucs were just being overly cautious with a veteran player who already knows the system. Nothing wrong with that because Galloway is so critical to this offense. He just needs a couple weeks of practice to get his timing down with Garcia. I think they'll both be fine by the start of the regular season. If not, the Bucs have plenty of depth behind Garcia and I really think Antonio Bryant can have a nice season at receiver. Bryant appears headed for the No. 3 spot. But, if something happens to Galloway, I can see him jumping up to No. 1.
Roger in New Jersey writes: Pat, I know you covered the Panthers for a while and that is my favorite NFL team, Do you think with a HEALTHY roster the Panthers can make a push for the Super Bowl and if not are they at least a legit playoff contender?
Pat Yasinskas: Definitely a playoff contender. Take last year's 7-9 team and give it a healthy Jake Delhomme for the entire year and the Panthers would have been in the playoffs. All indications are Delhomme is going to be fine and that's going to make a big difference. Plus, the Panthers improved the rest of the offense -- bringing in receivers Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett and running back Jonathan Stewart. The defensive line, particularly Julius Peppers, needs to be better than last year, but John Fox can coach and he seems to have the personnel to play his kind of football again.