NFC South: "Mike & Mike''

Around the NFC South

February, 3, 2012
Time for a look at the top Friday headlines around the NFC South.
  • New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis is ready to get down to serious contract talks with quarterback Drew Brees. Loomis also is likely to try to attempt to keep guard Carl Nicks, receiver Marques Colston and some other free agents, but said it might not be easy. Loomis said figuring out how to stay under the salary cap will be like slicing up a pie.
  • Former Saints’ player Steve Gleason, who has been diagnosed with ALS, writes an interesting column about how he’s become a fan. Gleason said he, and most players, don’t associate themselves to closely with a team while they’re playing because they often end up getting traded, cut or leaving via free agency. But Gleason said his illness has given him new perspective and allowed him to view the game like a fan.
  • In this radio interview with "Mike & Mike," Carolina quarterback Cam Newton talks about his rookie season, his style of play and the spread offense.
  • Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is expected to meet with city leaders soon to discuss possible funding for an overhaul of Bank of America Stadium.
  • Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik revealed that most of the candidates the Bucs talked to during their recent coaching search pointed to quarterback Josh Freeman and the young talent on the defensive line as the team's biggest positives. Obviously, that had to include Greg Schiano, who got the job. Anyone looking at the roster objectively would have to start with those two areas as potential strengths. But there’s work to be done. Freeman is talented, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing 2011. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn had a nice rookie year and defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price have the potential to be forces inside, if they can stay healthy.

Quote of the Week: On Saints' offense

November, 30, 2011
Over the last few years, I’ve heard the New Orleans Saints’ offense described in many ways.

People in the media, myself included, have come up with all sorts of terms or comparisons to describe what coach Sean Payton’s offense does. With quarterback Drew Brees running the show, the Saints move the ball ridiculously well and they don’t do it in just one way.

If Brees isn’t throwing short to Darren Sproles or Jimmy Graham, he’s throwing long to Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem. If the ball isn’t in Brees’ hands, then that means Sproles, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory is running it. In other words, the Saints can hit a defense from every possible angle.

But I think I finally heard the best description of the Saints’ offense. As I drove out to One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday morning, I heard ESPN analyst and former NFL head coach Jon Gruden describing the Saints’ offense on “Mike & Mike’’.

“They’re landing jet airplanes from around the world,’’ Gruden said.

That pretty much sums it up. People like to talk about Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago having the nation’s busiest airports. Well, at least during football season, the landing strip at Louis Armstrong International Airport might take the honors.