Hitting the NFC South links

Time for a trip through some NFC South headlines.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank is optimistic that a new labor deal can be reached and that there will be a 2011 season.

Here’s a look at Atlanta’s offense and some thoughts on why the play calling may be too conservative. I’m in partial agreement here. I’ve often said I’d like to see the Falcons open things up just a little bit more for quarterback Matt Ryan. But, at the same time, I realize coach Mike Smith believes in a system that includes a healthy dose of the running game. When you’ve got a running back like Michael Turner, you don’t totally abandon the running game.

Here’s one measure that says the Falcons and Buccaneers got the most out of their payrolls, while the Panthers got the least. I believe this formula has some truth to it in the case of the Falcons and the Bucs. But with the Panthers, I think the fact they won only two games, puts a pretty strong clamp on how you can quantify their use of payroll.

Former Tampa Bay linebacker Shelton Quarles talks about his rise to the position of coordinator of pro scouting for the Buccaneers.

Jim Skipper, who had been running backs coach for Carolina during the John Fox tenure, interviewed with new Panthers coach Ron Rivera. But it reportedly doesn’t look as if Skipper will remain with the Panthers. He has a standing invitation to join Fox’s staff in Denver.

The Saints suffered a pretty big loss Monday night. Secondary coach Dennis Allen will leave to become defensive coordinator in Denver. Aside from the playoff loss to Seattle, New Orleans’ secondary was a strong point last season.