Around the NFC South

A look at Wednesday morning's top headlines from around the division.

  • There’s no doubt the Saints will miss suspended coach Sean Payton. But Bradley Handwerger writes that offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. is more than qualified to call the plays. Carmichael took over that role when Payton was injured in a sideline collision early last season. Even after Payton recovered from his injury, he let Carmichael continue to call plays and the Saints set all sorts of offensive records.

  • D. Orlando Ledbetter has an overview of the cornerback situation for the Falcons. We all know Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel will be the top three corners. The best battle could be between Dominique Franks and Christopher Owens for the No. 4 spot.

  • The Times-Picayune continues its series on the top 25 Saints with guard Ben Grubbs at No. 8. Seems a bit high. Grubbs was brought in to replace Carl Nicks, who might have been the best guard in the league. Grubbs is good, but he’s not quite as good as Nicks and Jahri Evans.

  • In an affidavit on behalf of linebacker Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans assistant head coach Joe Vitt denied the Saints ran a bounty program. That’s not a big surprise. New Orleans players and coaches steadfastly have said there was no bounty program.

  • A judge has agreed to move Vilma’s hearing from Aug. 1 to July 26 on a temporary restraining order on his season-long suspension. July 26 is also the day the Saints will have their first training-camp practice. A settlement hearing involving Vilma, the NFL and the NFL Players Association is scheduled for July 23.

  • Although the Bucs were the only NFL team to take advantage of a new NFL rule allowing the baseline to lift television blackouts to drop to 85 percent of general-admission seating, Stephen Holder writes that local blackouts remain a possibility.