Time for a look at the top Tuesday morning headlines from around the NFC South.
D. Orlando Ledbetter has an overview of Atlanta’s situation at linebacker. While it’s undecided if veteran Lofa Tatupu or second-year pro Akeem Dent will start in the middle, Ledbetter’s right when he says the linebackers have to be much better in pass coverage. When you’re matched up against New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles twice a season, you can’t rely exclusively on the secondary.
The Times-Picayune continues its series of the top 25 Saints with Jermon Bushrod at No. 9. This guy is a pretty amazing story. He came out of nowhere, but made it to the Pro Bowl last season. The Saints will face a big decision when Bushrod becomes a free agent after this season. But he’s become a quality left tackle and it will be very difficult to let him walk away.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton will face three of the NFL’s top five active sack leaders this season, including Atlanta’s John Abraham (twice) and Chicago’s Julius Peppers, a former Panther.
New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a motion to expedite his temporary restraining order in an attempt to be allowed to take part in training camp. In the accompanying affidavit, Vilma says he has undergone the same blood treatment from a German doctor as New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez to speed up the healing process in his knee.
Mark Cook writes that the Bucs were lucky when criminal charges were dropped against starting cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Eric Wright. No doubt, because that allows the Bucs to move veteran cornerback Ronde Barber to safety. But Talib and Wright will have to be on their best behavior going forward. Coach Greg Schiano isn’t going to put up with any off-field trouble from these two.