Around the NFC South

Time for a Thursday morning run through the top headlines around the NFC South.

  • Although he’s had a year in the system, veteran Carolina receiver Steve Smith said he’s adjusting to some new tweaks in the offense. Smith said offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is not keeping things exactly the same after last season. That’s a good thing because there still is plenty of room for growth in this offense as quarterback Cam Newton enters his second season.

  • Atlanta defensive end John Abraham and tight end Tony Gonzalez weren’t in attendance when the team opened up a workout to the media earlier this week. Coach Mike Smith said both players were working out on their own elsewhere. Ideally, coaches like to have all their players around all the time. But I don’t think Smith is worried about Abraham and Gonzalez and I don’t think he needs to be. Both are veterans and have always stayed in good shape. All they really need to do is show up for minicamp and the start of training camp.

  • This may not be what Tampa Bay fans want to hear, but Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he’s not trading cornerback Michael Jenkins. There has been some speculation that the Cowboys were looking to move Jenkins. That got Tampa Bay fans excited because Jenkins played at the University of South Florida and starting cornerback Aqib Talib faces an uncertain future. But Jones sounds serious about keeping Jenkins.

  • Mike Triplett writes that the debate over whether the current franchise tag should count as the second on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees doesn’t really matter. There is uncertainty because Brees carried the franchise tag in San Diego in 2005. The NFL Players Association has asked an arbitrator to rule on whether that previous tag counts under the rules of the current collective bargaining agreement. But Triplett is right. None of that should really matter. Both sides want a long-term deal and, if that happens, Brees would be out from under the franchise tag.