Hitting the NFC South links

Time for a morning trip around the NFC South.

New Orleans wide receiver Marques Colston missed his fifth straight practice session Wednesday night. He said medical personnel are still trying to find the cause of his knee irritation. It remains unclear if he’ll play in Friday night’s preseason opener, but I wouldn’t count on it. There’s no sense pushing your best receiver on the field for a preseason game when he hasn’t been practicing.

Speaking of injuries and the Saints, they’ve got some players banged up in the defensive secondary. That’s allowed second-year cornerback Patrick Robinson and rookie Johnny Patrick to impress. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was frequently critical of Robinson last season, but has been singing his praises this camp.

Atlanta’s Mike Johnson will miss Friday’s preseason opener due to a concussion. Johnson is in a battle for the starting job at right guard with Garrett Reynolds. Johnson had been practicing with the second team and Reynolds with the first. If Reynolds plays well Friday, he could be close to locking up the starting job.

Former Buccaneer and current broadcaster Warren Sapp stopped by practice Wednesday and said he sees quarterback Josh Freeman as an MVP candidate this season. No argument here. Freeman carried the Bucs to 10 wins this offseason and has been having a great training camp so far.

With defensive tackle Ron Edwards (and thanks to all who bombed the mailbag to point out I had referred to him by an incorrect first name) out for at least the short term and possibly for the season with a triceps injury, the Panthers could be going with a pair of rookies at defensive tackle. The team already thought Terrell McClain would start next to Edwards and he’s done nothing to disappoint. Now, it looks like fellow rookie Sione Fua will step into Edwards’ spot.