Time for a look at some of the top Wednesday morning stories from around the NFC South.
D. Orlando Ledbetter has an overview of the Falcons’ running back situation. He covers the usual stuff about limiting Michael Turner’s carries and getting Jacquizz Rodgers more playing time. But he also reminds us that fullback Ovie Mughelli, who had been a fixture in Atlanta, is gone. Rookie Bradie Ewing and veteran Mike Cox will compete for the starting job. Mughelli went down with an injury last season and the running game never was quite the same.
There was no big surprise as the Times-Picayune finished its list of the top 25 Saints with Drew Brees at No. 1. How could anyone else have been in that spot? Although, I will admit I was getting a little nervous as I was doing my NFC South top 25 recently and Brees’ contract negotiations were dragging on. It doesn’t really matter now that Brees has a new deal, but I still would have kept him at No. 1 even if he was holding out.
Bradley Handwerger wonders what New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham will do in his third season in the NFL. He had a huge second season, catching 99 passes. Can Graham deliver similar results in 2012. I see no reason why he can’t. Graham still is relatively new to football, after spending most of his college years as a basketball player. Graham already is very good, but I don’t think we’ve seen his full potential yet.
Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said LeGarrette Blount has arrived on time for all offseason activities. That’s significant because getting to work on time has been a challenge for the running back in the past. But Schiano made it sound like Blount is following all the new rules. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice. But the Bucs didn’t go out and draft running back Doug Martin in the first round to have him sit on the bench.
During a speech to local business leaders, Carolina Panthers president Danny Morrison told a story about team owner Jerry Richardson that had not been revealed publicly before. Morrison said that back in December, Richardson attended the funeral of a PSL holder he never had met. This -- and hundreds of other stories about quiet gestures to fans and staff members -- is why I have enormous respect for Richardson. The man has plenty on his mind. He’s running an NFL team, he’s had major health issues and he’s got a family member dealing with a serious health condition, but he still has time for the fans.