Key roster dates approaching quickly

I’ve spent much of Tuesday (and a large chunk of Monday) working on season previews for all NFC South teams. They’ve been shipped off to my editors and they’ll run as we get a little closer to the start of the regular season. My predictions for how the division will play out also are included in that package and I’m not giving any hints right now.

Anyway, it’s time to jump back into the daily mode and I thought a good first step would be to hit you with a few key dates that are fast approaching.

Roster cuts are not far away. Teams have to trim their rosters to 75 players on Aug. 31. That’s usually a pretty painless process. But the more important date is Sept. 4: That’s when teams have to get their rosters down to 53 players.

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with some bigger names that are on the bubble around the NFC South. Among the guys I’m going to be keeping a close eye on are New Orleans’ Darren Sharper and Bobby McCray and Tampa Bay’s Michael Clayton, Derrick Ward and Ryan Sims. Not sure there are any real “names’’ on the bubble in Carolina (unless you count Dexter Jackson) or Atlanta.

At one point, I thought defensive end Jamaal Anderson and receiver Brian Finneran could be possible casualties by the Falcons. But I think Anderson’s safe in his role moving between end and tackle, and the loss of rookie receiver Kerry Meier to injury means Finneran is likely to stick around.