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Hitting the NFC South links

Time for a look at the top headlines from around the NFC South.

Atlanta veteran Mike Peterson isn’t having a problem accepting a backup role as Stephen Nicholas moves into the starting lineup at linebacker. Although the Falcons let receiver Brian Finneran and Brian Williams leave because they feared their presence would hold back the development of young players, they kept Peterson because they wanted his experience and leadership around.

Carolina right tackle Jeff Otah has been doing some work as he recovers from a knee problem. Coach Ron Rivera said Otah is progressing and should be ready soon. Keep an eye on this one. Otah missed all of last season with a knee injury and came back strong at the start of training camp. But he began experiencing problems with swelling and that’s caused some concern. With a healthy Otah, Carolina could have a very good offensive line. Without him, there’s a big drop.

Injuries are starting to pile up for the Saints. Guard Carl Nicks left Monday night’s practice with a knee injury. Coach Sean Payton didn’t know the severity of that injury right after practice. Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin has a sprained knee and is expected to be out a few weeks.

Rick Stroud points out that although Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib has yet to have his day in court for an aggravated assault charge, he still could be suspended if commissioner Roger Goodell determines he violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy.