Around the NFC South

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

— A lot of Carolina fans are asking why the Panthers simply don’t block offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski from interviewing for the head coach job in Tampa Bay. Joe Person reports the Panthers aren’t allowed to stop Chudzinski from taking a step up. The team also could offer Chudzinski more money to stay, the way Wade Phillips did in Houston. But Chudzinski’s a young guy who wants to explore opportunities as a head coach. If he ends up staying, he probably will get a nice raise. By the way, Chudzinski is interviewing with the Bucs today. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was supposed to interview Monday. But Zimmer encountered some travel issues and he also will interview with the Bucs today.

— Former Minnesota head coach Brad Childress said he has yet to hear back from the Bucs after interviewing for their job. Childress said the team told him the search would take some time. He also said he wouldn’t be opposed to coming to Tampa Bay as an offensive coordinator, if another candidate is hired.

The Bucs also are expected to interview Green Bay quarterbacks coach Tom Clements later this week. There also have been reports the Bucs have asked for permission to interview Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.

— John DeShazier points out the Saints would have ended up hosting the NFC Championship Game if they had won in San Francisco. They would have hosted the New York Giants, who upset Green Bay. The Saints beat the Giants at home in the regular season. I’m sure everyone who works for the Saints — and all of their fans — are wondering what could have been if the Saints played the NFC Championship Game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. By the way, coach Sean Payton is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans media later Tuesday to review the season.

— Atlanta fans continue to be shocked at the hiring of Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator. One of their main gripes is the Falcons didn’t even go through the process of interviewing other candidates. We don’t know for sure that’s true. The media doesn’t always get every interview. Besides, coach Mike Smith knew for a good month that former coordinator Mike Mularkey probably would end up as the head coach in Jacksonville. Smith had plenty of time to think about a replacement and he has history with Koetter.