Let's review Sunday's NFC South games with the local columnists. They're the guys who get to write opinion and I add my thoughts at the end of each item.
Mark Bradley writes that the Falcons aren’t playing the way they did the past three seasons. They’re making mistakes and not being precise. Bradley also notes there’s pressure on this team. After watching Atlanta’s first three games, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the Falcons put too much pressure on themselves by trading up to draft Julio Jones and signing Ray Edwards to a big free-agent contract.
Joe Henderson writes that Tampa Bay’s defensive line, which includes four early picks from the past two drafts, is starting to click. He also points out that second-year pro Brian Price, who missed most of his rookie year with an injured pelvis, made one of the key plays of the day when he came up with a sack. The defensive line has been a weak spot for this team the past few years, but there suddenly are some very promising signs.
Peter Finney has a fine column on an emotional day in New Orleans. Former special-teams ace Steve Gleason, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), gave the Saints a pregame talk. They responded with a win and Gleason was presented with a game ball. Very nice gesture by coach Sean Payton and the Saints. Gleason made one of the biggest plays in franchise history, blocking a punt in the first game back at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. Good to see the Saints have long memories and take care of their own.
Scott Fowler writes that Cam Newton didn’t have gaudy statistics on Sunday. But he made the plays when they were needed most and the Panthers won. In my book, that says the quarterback was doing his job.