NFC South: NFL Live
The coaching staff was very happy with how rookie Peter Konz fared in his first start at right guard. Even if Garrett Reynolds gets healthy quickly, I’d look for Konz to remain in the starting lineup.
Mark Bradley writes that Sunday’s victory at Philadelphia was the most impressive road win since the Falcons went up to New England and won, 41-10, in 1998. That parallel is significant. The 1998 team was the only one in franchise history to go to the Super Bowl.
We stay away from politics here. But, with the election coming up, it’s at least worth mentioning the Panthers, who play at Washington on Sunday, could play a role in the outcome -- sort of. If you believe in “the Redskins Rule,’’ history has shown that if Washington wins its game immediately before the election, the incumbent party almost always stays in control of the White House. If the Redskins lose, there’s generally a change at the top.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The NFL Live crew discusses the email, which now has become public, from former New Orleans assistant Mike Cerullo to the NFL that supposedly played a major role in the bounty investigation moving forward. I still don’t know that there’s any end to this drama in sight. But this could advance things a bit. The lawyers for the players facing suspensions now could get a chance to grill Cerullo about the accuracy of his information and his motivation for speaking to the NFL.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
In this Insider post, Matt Williamson writes that the Buccaneers are showing uncommon faith in rookie running back Doug Martin. In the victory against Minnesota, the Bucs gave Martin 32 touches, despite having a short week of practice.
Speaking of how Martin has established himself as the feature back in Tampa Bay, Chris Sprow writes in this Insider piece that the Bucs should trade former starter LeGarrette Blount to Oakland. If the Raiders are willing to give up a draft pick, this makes plenty of sense. Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik likes to stockpile draft picks, and the Raiders long have been a popular destination for outcasts.
The show is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. ET and I don’t know the exact time that the segments on the Bucs will air. But I can tell you I’ll be doing a phone interview in which I’ll be asked about offseason concerns for the Bucs.
The other guest will be a more prominent voice than mine. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman also is scheduled to be interviewed over the phone.
Funny what a 4 a.m. wakeup call from a friendly desk clerk can do to “The Beast." Anyway, we had a meeting with the NFL Live television folks this morning and I got a chance to shake hands with Marcellus Wiley. We’ll be going into other meetings momentarily and laying out our coverage plans for next season. I've heard some of the plans already and I think you'll like them. I’ll keep an eye on the wires, my e-mail and voicemail and will weigh in if there’s anything of note in the NFC South.
Otherwise, I’ll check in tonight after our meetings are done.
I'll share a preview of what I'm going to say with you now. Gonzalez is fitting in perfectly and that's no surprise. The veteran tight end is one of the most gregarious players in the league and always was a popular locker-room figure in Kansas City.
That's all transferring over quite seamlessly to Atlanta. I've talked to several people within the organization and they all say Gonzalez is adjusting very well to his new teammates. He hasn't had much field time with them yet, but that will change Friday when the Falcons begin a minicamp.
In the brief time since Gonzalez was traded to the Falcons, he's been taking part in the conditioning program and has blended well with his teammates, particularly quarterback Matt Ryan. They already have struck up a working relationship and a friendship.
No big surprise there because Ryan and Gonzalez are both pros and outgoing guys. Ryan quickly developed a good chemistry with receivers Roddy White and Michael Jenkins last year and that paid off. That process should be even smoother with Gonzalez.