How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch

September, 15, 2009
9/15/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


Falling

 Delhomme
1. Jake Delhomme, Panthers QB: Delhomme’s stock has crashed in Carolina. His shot at redemption after last season’s playoff disaster against Arizona was ruined when he threw four interceptions against Philadelphia.

The Panthers gave Delhomme a contract extension and a vote of confidence in the offseason, but they can’t go on like this much longer. It’s pretty baffling because Delhomme was a pretty dependable quarterback for a long time, but he suddenly has turned into a turnover machine.

 Piscitelli
2. Sabby Piscitelli, Buccaneers safety: If you didn’t see him in Sunday’s game, you weren’t watching. Piscitelli was largely responsible for three Dallas touchdown passes.

Back in the offseason, the Bucs decided to move Jermaine Phillips to linebacker so they could get Piscitelli in the starting lineup. Maybe Piscitelli should have been the one they moved to linebacker.

 Fox
3. John Fox, Panthers coach: It’s tough to say a coach who was 12-4 last season is on the hot seat, but Fox is truly there. Patience is wearing thin in Charlotte and the Panthers never have had back-to-back winning seasons.

Fox had a built-in excuse two years ago when Delhomme went out with an elbow injury. He often reminded us of the fact the Panthers were playing without their quarterback and he got a free pass. There’s no excuse this year. Fox could have gone out and done something at quarterback after Delhomme fell apart in last season’s playoffs. He didn’t.

Rising

 Sharper
1. Darren Sharper, Saints safety: Yes, he’s old, but Sharper still has it. He picked off Matthew Stafford twice to give him 56 career interceptions.

General manager Mickey Loomis has had his share of misses on the defensive side in recent years, but signing Sharper already has proven to be a solid move. His veteran presence helps the entire secondary and he still can make plays.

 Peterson
2. Mike Peterson, Falcons linebacker: This guy was embarrassed by what happened between him and coach Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville last year. Peterson had been a leader throughout his career and he felt like he was made to look like the bad guy with the Jaguars.

He’s got a fresh start with his former defensive coordinator (coach Mike Smith) and he’s showing he really is a leader. The Falcons aren’t missing Keith Brooking at all.

 Shockey
3. Jeremy Shockey: Saints TE: Shockey’s been a target for ridicule throughout much of his career. Some of it’s due to injuries and some of it's because of his behavior.

But you can never forget that he’s an enormous talent. He caught two touchdowns on Sunday, which is two more than he had all of last year. Makes you wonder what’s possible if he can stay healthy all season.

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