We’ll hear more from the New Orleans Saints later on Tuesday. They’re the first NFC South team reporting to camp and interim coach Joe Vitt, quarterback Drew Brees and safety Roman Harper are scheduled to talk to the media Tuesday evening. We’ll check in on the highlights of that later on. Meantime, let’s take a run through some other NFC South notes.
Jeremy Shockey’s name is starting to pop up around the league. That’s probably exactly how the veteran tight end, who spent last season with Carolina, has planned it. Shockey already could have signed with Carolina or another team. But he’s the kind of name player that could have more value once teams get into training camp and some of them realize they still have a need at tight end. I think the door is still open in Carolina. But I don’t think Shockey returns there unless the Panthers suddenly become willing to pay more than the veteran minimum. I think Shockey is waiting for something to come open in a place he views as a better destination. I’m still not ready to completely rule out a return to the NFC South for a guy that played for the Saints before joining the Panthers, but I think there’s at least a chance Shockey could land in an NFC South port he hasn’t been in before -- if there is room for him.
Carolina defensive tackle Andre Neblett said a dietary supplement caused his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Neblett can still go through camp and the preseason with the team. But he’ll need to make a really strong impression -- and beat out Frank Kearse -- to have a chance to get back on the roster when his suspension ends.
Pete Prisco predicts the record for every NFL team in the 2012 season. Fans of the Buccaneers, Saints and Panthers aren’t going to like what he has to say, but Atlanta fans would be pretty happy if the season plays out the way Prisco sees it.
Tampa Bay defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and linebacker Adam Hayward will begin the preseason on the physically-unable-to-perform list (PUP). Players can come off the PUP at any time during the preseason and I think that’s the hope for Okoye (knee) and Hayward (foot). But Bowers suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason and is likely to miss significant time. If a player starts the regular season on PUP, he has to sit out at least the first six games.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank will talk about how he built his empire at an upcoming business leadership seminar.