NFC South: Sun Belt Conference

Time for a review of Sunday's NFC South games with the fine work of the columnists from around the NFC South.

Scott Fowler writes that the Panthers should throw in the towel on quarterback Jimmy Clausen and go out and draft a quarterback and sign a veteran. I definitely like the part about signing a veteran -- at least to provide insurance and a mentor. As far as Clausen, I’m not saying he will be or won’t be the answer for Carolina going forward. Honestly, I think it’s impossible to judge him because he’s had such a horrible team around him. I know current coach John Fox isn’t a Clausen fan. But Fox is gone after three more games. It’s going to be up to the front office and the new coach to make a decision on Clausen. I also know the front office, which is going to stay fairly intact, still believes Clausen can play. Tip to any coach who interviews for the Carolina job: Walk in there and say, “I can win with Jimmy Clausen.’’ Those few words might get you the job.

Jeff Schultz writes about how the Falcons are prone to lulls, even though they have the best record in the NFC. It’s true, and I’m not sure how Mike Smith and his staff fix that. But I also believe we still haven’t seen the Falcons play their best football yet. With a Dec. 27 game against New Orleans and the playoffs approaching, it might be a good time for Atlanta to start putting it all together. Schultz also had a pretty good line about the Panthers being close to being dropped from the NFC South to the Sun Belt Conference.

Martin Fennelly writes about how Tampa Bay’s game with Washington was an “eyesore’’ and elaborates on how injuries continue to pile up for the Bucs. I watched most of the game on television in the Superdome press box and Fennelly definitely has a point that the game wasn’t pretty. But the Bucs haven’t been turning in very many pretty wins this season. However, the bottom line is, they’ve won eight times already and that’s anywhere from three to six wins more than a lot of experts projected for the whole season. The even better news is Tampa Bay’s next two games are at home against Detroit and Seattle. Nothing’s guaranteed in the NFL and the injury situation could leave the Bucs starting their practice squad. But I look at these next two games and, as long as Josh Freeman is playing, I have a tough time not seeing the Bucs with 10 wins heading into their regular-season finale with New Orleans. Besides, the way the Bucs have been finding good young players out of nowhere all year, you get the feeling, if something did happen to Freeman, that they'd just go out and sign Tampa Plant High's Phillip Ely or Dade City Pasco High's Jacob Guy and still find ways to win.

My good friend Jeff Ducan, who better remember to get that signed copy of his book “From Bags To Riches’’ in the mail to me today, has a video breakdown of New Orleans’ victory against St. Louis.

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