Let’s take a plunge into the NFC South mailbag.
Kyle in Blacksburg, Va., wrote to ask if the Panthers might pursue quarterback Carson Palmer, if he is available.
Pat Yasinskas: There’s been a lot of speculation about Palmer’s future in Cincinnati and it’s possible he could become available. He’s an experienced quarterback and coach Ron Rivera has said he’d like to add a veteran to go with Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen. But that veteran clearly is going to be asked to take on a mentor role. Palmer’s been a starter throughout his career and I’m not sure he’s ready to accept a backup role or even willing to come into a situation where he might be a short-term starter. But, if Palmer does hit the market, I think the Panthers would be wise to at least talk to him and see what kind of role he’s looking for.
Joel in Cary, N.C., saw our post on Brett Favre and Steve Young, a pair of guys who had brief stints with NFC South teams before going on to greatness elsewhere and said he can imagine Clausen following the same path in the future.
Pat Yasinskas: It’s at least possible. If Newton works out well in Carolina, then Clausen’s not going to stick around for the long term. It’s not really fair to judge Clausen on last season, because he was in a horrible offense and a terrible situation. But there are plenty of people around the league who think Clausen can be an NFL quarterback. Time will tell.
JP in Inverness, Fla., asks if Aqib Talib and Tanard Jackson might have helped their chances of staying with the Bucs by showing up for the recent players-only minicamp.
Pat Yasinskas: Well, they certainly didn’t hurt their chances of staying with the Bucs by showing up. Obviously, the coaching staff wasn’t involved in the workout because of the lockout. But the Bucs monitor everything and you can bet they’re well aware Talib and Jackson showed up. Showing that they’re focused on football at least sends a positive message to the Bucs.
Christian in Denver saw Kevin Seifert’s item on Julius Peppers’ Hall of Fame chances and asks if Peppers makes the Hall of Fame will he be pictured in a Carolina or Chicago jersey.
Pat Yasinskas: The Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn’t work that way. The Baseball Hall of Fame requires a player to decide which hat he wants on his plaque. But there are no uniforms or logos on Pro Football Hall of Fame busts and players who played for different teams don’t have to declare one as their primary team. They represent every team they played for.
Mike from Marrero, La., asks if the Saints and Falcons will ever reach a point where they have a nationally recognized rivalry like the Colts and Patriots.
Pat Yasinskas: If both teams continue playing the way they have the past couple of seasons, absolutely. These teams really don’t like each other and it shows up on the field. A few more great games between these two teams could make Atlanta-New Orleans one of the league’s top current rivalries.
Dan in Tampa thinks Reggie Bush could be a perfect fit in Tampa Bay’s backfield.
Pat Yasinskas: If Bush comes available from New Orleans, I could see him in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have LeGarrette Blount as their starting running back, but Cadillac Williams is a potential free agent. If Williams leaves, the Bucs have a big void at third-down back. Bush certainly has the receiving skills to be successful in that role.