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Hitting the NFC South links

When asked if Jimmy Clausen would remain as the starting quarterback this week, Carolina coach John Fox said that “more than likely’’ would be the case. At this point, I don’t think there’s any other choice. Once the Panthers made the decision last week to start the rookie, they pretty much made the commitment to stick with him. Besides, there’s no way they go back to Matt Moore, who started the first two games.

With the Buccaneers in their bye week, coach Raheem Morris said some changes are on the way. Morris, the one NFC South coach who isn’t paranoid about talking about personnel moves before he makes them, said he’s going to start giving rookies LeGarrette Blount and Arrelious Benn more playing time. I like both ideas. Blount is a big, strong runner and could help make starting running back Cadillac Williams more effective. Benn’s going to get more work as the Z receiver, where Sammie Stroughter has been the starter.

Mike Triplett reports the Saints will bring in veteran kickers Kris Brown and John Carney for workouts Tuesday. That comes after Garrett Hartley missed what should have been an easy field goal in overtime Sunday. Are the Saints ready to give up on Hartley, who has made some big kicks throughout his career? I’m not so sure about that. I could see a situation like last year, where the Saints carried Hartley and Carney for a good chunk of the season. It could be a scenario where Carney or Brown comes in and handles field goals for a few weeks while Hartley works on finding his rhythm.

D. Orlando Ledbetter points out the Falcons lead the league in time of possession. Atlanta is keeping the ball for an average of 38 minutes, 31 seconds through three games. If you’re going to lead the league in something, this is a very good category to do it in. After a rough opener against a good Pittsburgh defense, Atlanta’s offense has hit full stride and the run-pass balance has been outstanding.