NFC South: Ra'Shon Harris


Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


It’s coming about two months too late, but the Panthers finally have added the wide body they’ve been missing since Maake Kemoeatu went down with an injury on the first day of training camp.

Charles Chandler reports the Panthers have signed veteran defensive tackle Hollis Thomas and have release Ra’Shon Harris. At 340 pounds, Thomas gives the Panthers the run-stuffing presence they’ve been missing since Kemoeatu went down.

Thomas is nearing the end of his career and won’t be able to play every down, but he’s about 40 pounds heavier than the rest of Carolina’s defensive tackles. The Panthers should have found someone of Thomas’ size as soon as Kemoeatu was injured. Instead, they’ve been starting Nick Hayden and Damione Lewis at defensive tackle and that’s left them susceptible to the run.

Analyzing Tuesday's transactions

September, 22, 2009
9/22/09
7:12
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

We had a flurry of transactions in the NFC South on Tuesday, but I don’t think any of them are reasons to go buying tickets to Miami for the Super Bowl.

Every team except the Saints made some minor roster moves. Here’s a quick analysis of what happened:

Buccaneers. They placed safety Jermaine Phillips on the injured-reserve list and released safety Steve Cargile. Hmm, anybody think the Bucs will be adding two safeties in the next 12-16 hours? Might be a good landing spot for any safety on the streets because a starting job is within reach pretty quickly. The starters right now are Will Allen and Sabby Piscitelli and the Giants are coming to town with a group of emerging wide receivers. On the bright side, Tanard Jackson only has two games left on his suspension.

Panthers. Carolina signed defensive tackle Antwon Burton, mainly because he weighs 325 pounds. At the rate the Panthers are going, they’ll probably be signing Shane Burton before too long. I’m just kidding on that one (I think). Shane Burton was a backup on some very good Carolina defensive lines, back when Carolina had very good defensive lines. He’s got to be pushing 40 now, but he’s probably better than any defensive tackle the Panthers have right now. Back to Antwon Burton: He’s appeared in eight games since coming into the league as an undrafted free agent. The Panthers also placed Louis Leonard on the injured-reserve list, where he’ll join Maake Kemoeatu, who was supposed to be the starter heading into camp. Nick Hayden, the Week One starter by default, miss Week Two because of a toe injury. Not sure if he’ll be back this week, but the Panthers now have three healthy defensive tackles in Antwon Burton, Ra’Shon Harris and Damione Lewis. Does that trio scare anybody – besides Carolina fans? In other news, the Panthers waived safety Nate Salley from the injured-reserve list and released defensive tackle George Hypolite from the practice squad. We won’t analyze those moves because …well, basically, because they mean nothing.

Falcons. A day after elevating defensive tackle Vance Walker from the practice squad to take the roster spot of the injured Peria Jerry, the Falcons signed defensive tackle Jeremy Clark to the practice squad. This move might be a little more significant than it looks. Clark has spent some time on the practice squads of the Giants and Eagles, two teams with pretty good defenses. With sudden uncertainty at defensive tackle, Clark could move up to the regular roster if he shows some promise.

Panthers made run at DT Boone

September, 21, 2009
9/21/09
10:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


The Carolina Panthers, desperate for help at defensive tackle made a run at Alfonso Boone, a league source said.

But Boone appears to be headed for San Diego, where he has history with defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.

That leaves the Panthers still looking for help. They lost Louis Leonard to a broken ankle Sunday and Nick Hayden sat out Sunday’s game with a toe injury. Damione Lewis and Ra’Shon Harris are the only healthy defensive tackles on the roster at the moment.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


We’ve got some key injury situations in the NFC South that are worth watching as the weekend gets closer.

Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Bryant did not participate in practice because of a knee injury. Bryant had surgery in the preseason, but appeared to make a successful return in the season opener. This one is potentially troubling for the Bucs, who aren’t loaded with experience at wide receiver. If Bryant can’t play Sunday at Buffalo, rookie Sammie Stroughter or Maurice Stovall likely would get the start.

In Carolina, right tackle Jeff Otah was held out of practice with a shoulder injury. If Otah is unable to play, Carolina’s loss of veteran depth (Frank Omiyale, Jeremy Bridges and Geoff Hangartner) could catch up to the Panthers. Carolina has a pair of unproven backups in Garry Williams and Geoff Schwartz.

Defensive tackle Nick Hayden missed his second day of practice with a toe injury. Hayden had taken over as a starter when Maake Kemoeatu went down on the first day of training camp with a season-ending injury. If Hayden can’t play, the Panthers have only Ra’Shon Harris and Louis Leonard, who both were added late in the preseason, as backups. Think you might see Atlanta’s Michael Turner headed for the middle of Carolina’s defense a few times on Sunday.

Things are more positive in New Orleans, where running back Pierre Thomas returned to practice after sitting out Sunday. The only issue here is how that will impact the rotation at running back with Thomas joining Mike Bell and Reggie Bush.

Atlanta fans, relax at the moment. The Falcons had all 53 players participate in practice Thursday.

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