NFC South: Morten Anderson

NFC South afternoon update

August, 5, 2013
8/05/13
2:33
PM ET
Before I head off to the airport to fly to New Orleans for my visit with the Saints, let’s check in on the top headlines from around the division.
  • Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn (groin injury) tried to return to practice Monday, but that didn’t last long. Clayborn still was experiencing problems and stopped practicing. Kicker Lawrence Tynes (toe) continues to be held out of practice. Tight end Luke Stocker (calf) was taking off the physically unable to perform list, but is being brought along slowly.
  • Gil Arcia reports the NFL still is reviewing the incident in which Tampa Bay defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was charged with carrying a gun at an airport in New York during the offseason. Bowers pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, but still could face NFL discipline under the league’s personal conduct penalty. I’m thinking a suspension is a long shot, but a fine is a possibility.
  • Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis took the next step on his road back from knee surgery.
  • Former Saints and Falcons kicker Morten Andersen will be inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.
  • The Saints announced that three practices that had been scheduled to be open to the public now will be closed. That means the Saints have only five more camp practices that are open to the public.
  • NFL officiating crews have been told to start calling taunting penalties on players who spin the ball in the vicinity of opponents. That could present a problem for Carolina receiver Steve Smith, who has made spinning the ball one of his trademarks. But Smith said he’s working on ways to make sure he stays within the rules.
John Kasay is 41, which is one of the major reasons the Carolina Panthers released the kicker last month. But as Kasay met with the New Orleans media after signing with the Saints on Tuesday, he said he feels like he still can be productive.

“I am not as young as I use to be,’’ Kasay said. “I am not fooling anybody with that but there have been a handful of guys who have done very well playing into their 40’s. Morten Anderson, John Carney, Gary Anderson, Matt Stover, Jason Hanson. It’s a privilege to be able to play and to do the same thing I was doing as a kid.”

Kasay said he had continued working out, even though he wasn’t sure he would get another chance to kick in the league. That changed quickly after New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley suffered a hip injury in Sunday night’s preseason game.

“This came together obviously very quickly based on what happened to Garrett,’’ Kasay said. “That’s just the nature of the league. I am married. I have four children and school started last week. I was back-to-school-night last night. That’s how fast life changes.”

Coach Sean Payton wouldn't go into specifics about the severity of Hartley's injury and it's unclear if the Saints think they'll be going with Kasay for the long term or only the short term. Payton said familiarity with Kasay is one reason the Saints chose him.

“With his experience, we know the player a little bit more than some of the others because he’s been in our division,'' Payton said. "He’s consistent. He’s a veteran player and we just started getting some work with him today. Really the adjustment is in the hold because he’s a left-footed kicker.”

Punter Thomas Morstead and backup quarterback Chase Daniel worked as holders with Kasay in Tuesday's practice.

“That’s a good question,'' Payton said when asked who will hold. "I think we’ll go with the holder that is most apt at doing it. Both of them, Chase right now and Thomas Morstead, are getting comfortable doing that and working through the kinks.”

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Now on to the specialists and coach for your NFC South all-decade team.

Kicker: John Kasay. There were a lot of votes for Morten Anderson, Matt Bryant and John Carney. But I asked you all to be fair and make sure we got the guy on here that truly deserved to be here. By putting aside your team allegiances and voting for Kasay, you made the right choice. The guy was in the division all decade and made an awful lot of big kicks.

Punter: Todd Sauerbrun. The Odd Couple lives again. For much of the decade Kasay and Sauerburn worked together in Carolina and nobody could figure out how two polar opposites thrived. It didn't matter. They worked great together.

Return man: Reggie Bush. There were some votes for Steve Smith, but he didn't qualify because he hasn't been a true return guy since early in his career. Tampa Bay's Clifton Smith got some votes after a nice rookie season, but let's see him do it again. There also were a few votes for Michael Lewis, but Bush was the easy winner here.

Coach: John Fox. This one was very close. Fox nudged Jon Gruden by six votes. Gruden won a Super Bowl, but Fox got his team to two NFC Championships. Fox also was starting on a lower level, taking over George Seifert's 1-15. Gruden got a Super Bowl team in Tampa that just needed some tweaking.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Last week I asked for your take on if Derrick Brooks is the greatest player in the history of the NFC South. I told you I thought, without question, he is.

 Brooks

I told you to agree or disagree in the comments section of this blog or in my mailbag and we got lots of opinions. I'll share some of them with you now.

Jeff in Tampa writes: I agree Pat, bar none Brooks is the best of all time in the NFC South Teams. I have not only never seen such poise and leadership of a player, as well as the dedication to the game. I never seen him give up on a play, and he has played hurt. But also living here in Tampa, he has been iconic, and such a gift to the Tampa community. I will miss the commercial where he is on the bus and makes the kids sing the song "Who's our favorite player...Mr. Derrick Brooks" I truely hope that whatever he does, he will come back here to retire as a Buc as Lynch did, and I REALLY hope to see him coaching on our sidelines soon.

Brad in Bbradenton writes: Derrick Brooks is the best player in the Bucs franchise history(no disrespect to Lee Roy Selmon). Do you think he should retire now as a Buc after sub par seasons in Tampa the last two years?replacing Kiffin as defensive coordinator. My guess is defensive backs coach Raheem Morris. He's a rising star in the coaching ranks. If he takes over, I don't think he'd totally blow up the defensive system. It's something that's worked for well over a decade and I don't think a bad performance Monday night is reason enough for Tampa Bay to just fall apart.

Ben in Bakersfield CA writes: Why don't you put Willie Roaf in your discussion for best NFC south player of all time or best saints player of all time? He has all the credintials that Derrick Brooks has and way more than any other Saints player.

Walter Mercier in Spring, Texas writes: Pat, the news of Derrick Brooks saddens me. Along with Mike Alstott, he was without a doubt my favorite Buccaneer of all time. I will never forget his 2002 season, those three defensive scores, the most famous being his game icing interception return for a touchdown in Superbowl 37. He is the greatest Buccaneer of all time, with Selmon following close behind. Now, after all that, my one question. Do you think that we have anybody in the wings who could possibly play the position well enough to take his place? Or will we have to seek out another talent?

Mike in Fort Worth writes: Depending on your philosophy about kickers, gotta have Morten Andersen right up there as best ever in NFC. Two teams to boot.

Pat Yasinskas: All your points are well taken. I still say Brooks is the best player in the history of the NFC South. If you want to continue to agree or disagree, hit the comments section or the mailbag.

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