NFC South: Tauren Poole

NFC South afternoon update

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
4:16
PM ET
Time for an afternoon trip through some news and notes from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

In his league-wide prediction of records for this season, Pete Prisco has the Falcons going 12-4 and reaching the Super Bowl. But he doesn’t have them winning the title.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Running back Tauren Poole said he has learned to be more patient. That probably is a good thing. With Jonathan Stewart still dealing with an injury, the Panthers might end up keeping Poole around.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Bradley Handwerger writes that Akiem Hicks is taking nothing for granted even as it appears he is ticketed for a starting job at defensive end. That’s understandable from a guy that, through a series of circumstances, ended up playing his college ball in Canada. But the Saints appear ready to put Hicks in the place of Kenyon Coleman, who suffered a season-ending injury.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Scott Reynolds lists the 10 most talented Buccaneers. There is no surprise that he has Darrelle Revis at No. 1. As long as Revis is healthy, he’s the best cornerback in the league. But I’m a little surprised that Doug Martin came in at No. 7. With a healthy offensive line in front of him, I think Martin can be one of the top three running backs in the league.

Bucs, Falcons make most of injuries

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
5:03
PM ET
When a team’s season goes bad, one common response is to point to injuries.

Sometimes that holds merit and sometimes it doesn’t. We don’t have to look any further than the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to see that.

At least at the moment, the Panthers lead the division with 13 players on injured reserve. They are linebacker Jon Beason, defensive tackle Ron Edwards, cornerback Chris Gamble, center Ryan Kalil, defensive end Thomas Keiser, cornerback Nate Ness, linebacker Kenny Onatolu, receiver Kealoha Pilares, guard Mike Pollak, safety Sherrod Martin, defensive lineman Antwan Applewhite, running back Tauren Poole and tackle Lee Ziemba.

The Buccaneers are right behind them with 10 players on injured reserve. They are receiver Arrelious Benn, linebacker Quincy Black, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, safety Cody Grimm, guard Davin Joseph, guard Carl Nicks, tight end Danny Noble, receiver Sammie Stroughter, tackle Jeremy Trueblood and offensive lineman Desmond Wynn.

Beason, Edwards, Gamble and Kalil were starters and Pilares was the kick returner. No doubt those injuries have hurt the Panthers.

But, guess what? Tampa Bay’s injury situation is virtually the same. Black, Clayborn, Joseph and Nicks were starters and Benn was returning kicks before he went down.

The difference is Tampa Bay has used its next-man-up philosophy, especially on the offensive line, and fared pretty well. The Panthers are 3-9 and I’ve got a hunch their record might be pretty close to the same even if all the injured guys were healthy.

Injuries matter but they’re not a cover-it-all excuse. We can look to the other two NFC South teams for proof of that. The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints each have eight players on injured reserve.

Atlanta’s injured players are fullback Bradie Ewing, tight end Tommy Gallarda, receiver Kerry Meier, tight end Adam Nissley, guard Garrett Reynolds, safety Shann Schillinger and tackle Will Svitek.

New Orleans’ injured reserve list includes linebacker Chris Chamberlain, receiver Chris Givens, tackle Bryce Harris, tackle Marcel Jones, defensive end Greg Romeus, guard Andrew Tiller, receiver Nick Toon and tackle Fenuki Tupou.

Grimes was a starter for the Falcons and Ewing might have been. Reynolds was starting up until his injury, but I think there’s a chance the Falcons still might have put rookie Peter Konz into the lineup. Chamberlain might have been a full-time starter for the Saints, but none of the rest of their injured guys would have been key players.

You could make a case the Falcons were hit harder than the Saints by injuries. But the Falcons are 11-1 and the Saints are 5-7.
Just a quick note to let you know we’re still waiting on official announcements from the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and -- to a lesser degree -- the Carolina Panthers on what moves they have made to get down their rosters down to 53 players.

As of the moment, the Atlanta Falcons are the only NFC South team to announce their roster moves. I’ll bring you our cutdown analysis on the Saints and Buccaneers as soon as their moves are announced.

The Panthers did something I’ve never seen before. They made a partial announcement. The team said it has waived receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, cornerback Darius Butler, receiver Jared Green, linebacker David Nixon, defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo, running back Tauren Poole, offensive tackle Matt Reynolds, cornerback R.J. Stanford, defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen and linebacker Kion Wilson.

The Panthers still have to clear 12 more roster spots.

A few other items worth noting as we wait (and wait):

Joseph Person reports that Carolina wide receiver Armanti Edwards will make it through this round of cuts.

Stephen Holder reports that Tampa Bay receiver Tiquan Underwood has been told he’s being released.

Mike Triplett reports that it appears as if New Orleans undrafted running back Travaris Cadet will make the roster.

Observation deck: Panthers-Texans

August, 11, 2012
8/11/12
10:12
PM ET

This should come as absolutely no surprise, because it’s what the Carolina Panthers envisioned on draft day and what they’ve seen so far in training camp. But the world got to see the impact of rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly in Saturday night’s preseason opener, a 26-13 loss to the Houston Texans.

It didn’t take long for Kuechly to do what he’s done in practice every day -- make a big play. On Houston’s second drive of the night, Kuechly put a big hit on running back Arian Foster and forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Sherrod Martin. That turnover helped set up a field goal for the Panthers.

Kuechly left the game after the first quarter, but finished with two solo tackles, two assists and the forced fumble. Spread that out over four quarters and over an entire season, and it sure looks like the Panthers have found a playmaker at linebacker.

Some other observations on the Panthers:
  • It was hard to really get a read on quarterback Cam Newton’s performance. Statistically, it wasn’t great. He completed two of six passes for 16 yards, and also ran twice for 16 yards. But Newton didn’t get blocking from his offensive line and also had at least one pass dropped. Newton led the Panthers to a field goal before leaving the game after three offensive series. It also was pretty obvious the Panthers weren’t showing anything close to their full playbook.
  • Speaking of running back depth, rookie Tauren Poole, who had a short touchdown run in the second quarter, has a decent chance to make this team. At worst, he’s probably a guy the Panthers would like to keep on the practice squad.
  • The Panthers held middle linebacker Jon Beason out as he recovers from a minor injury that’s not related to the torn Achilles tendon he suffered last season. Jason Phillips started in Beason’s place and came up with an interception late in the first quarter. If Phillips continues to progress and Thomas Davis can get healthy, the Panthers could have some very nice depth at linebacker.
  • Speaking of linebacker depth, the Panthers have plenty on the outside as well. Jordan Senn, who was a part-time starter last season, is going to be a backup this season. But Senn was very productive Saturday night, leading the Panthers with 13 tackles.
  • The Panthers went to great lengths to try to improve their special teams in the offseason. So far, that’s not paying off. Carolina allowed Trindon Holliday to return a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
  • I'm not sure rookie Joe Adams will have much of a role as a receiver, because there's so much depth at the position. But, after watching his spectacular third-quarter punt return, I'm thinking there's a good chance Adams has a big role in the return game.
  • I think Louis Murphy already was in the mix to be the No. 3 receiver. But he might have moved into the lead for that job Saturday night. Murphy had a nice leaping catch on the sideline in the second quarter, and also caught another pass where he put a nice move on the defensive back that resulted in some yards after the catch.
  • Forget any chance of Jeremy Shockey being re-signed by the Panthers. Gary Barnidge sure looks like he’s ready to be the No. 2 tight end.
  • Be sure to check out the Camp Confidential profile on the Panthers. It's scheduled to pop up on the blog early Sunday afternoon.
The Carolina Panthers just announced they have agreed to terms with 12 undrafted rookie free agents.

Here’s the list:

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