First, a quick reminder that there will be no NFC South chat on Friday. Apologies, but I’ve got another assignment that conflicts with our regular schedule. Now, let’s move on to a look at the top headlines from around the division.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Although all indications were that Olympian Jeff Demps would sign with an NFL team Thursday, his marketing agent sent out a tweet late Thursday night, saying she could not provide any details yet. Stay tuned. It’s believed the Bucs remain interested in Demps.
Dory LeBlanc has a list of “risers’’ out of Tampa Bay’s training camp. Two of the names on the list are cornerback Anthony Gaitor and defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry, and I think they’re significant. The Bucs need depth on the defensive line, and Gilberry can play tackle and end. Gaitor made some real flash plays. If he can continue to do that with some consistency, he could earn regular-season playing time.
Roy Cummings has a list of what to watch in Friday night’s preseason game with Tennessee. One of them is rookie safety Mark Barron, who will be making his NFL debut after sitting out with an injury. It’s time to see what Tampa Bay’s top draft pick can do.
The Falcons now have lost seven straight preseason games, the longest active streak in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. I wouldn’t be too worried about that one. The starters looked just fine against the Bengals, and in the opener against the Ravens. Both games were lost when the backups entered. I’d be far more concerned with wiping out the streak of postseason losses that’s run throughout the tenure of coach Mike Smith.
Atlanta cornerback Asante Samuel gave up a deep touchdown pass to A.J. Green on Thursday night. Samuel explained what happened after the game, saying he relaxed on the possibility of a deep ball. The film backs that up. Samuel seemed to sit on Green’s first move, apparently putting himself in position to make a play on the ball. But the problem was the ball wasn’t coming at that point because Green made a second move and quickly left Samuel behind.
When asked after Thursday night’s game if he was an elite quarterback, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan said it doesn’t matter. I find the timing of the question highly unusual. It’s not the type of question you ask after a preseason game. It’s one you ask on a relaxed day in training camp or perhaps after a quarterback that has faced the question for several years wins a big playoff game or the Super Bowl.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Brett Martel provides some background on Travaris Cadet, the undrafted running back that’s been making a lot of noise in the preseason. Cadet played quarterback in high school. In junior college, he played virtually every position, including quarterback. He transferred to Appalachian State where he played running back in some formations and slot receiver in others. Sounds a little like Darren Sproles.
Sproles and cornerback Jabari Greer headline a group of Saints that will not play in Friday’s game against Jacksonville due to injuries.
Quarterback Drew Brees and wife Brittany have welcomed a new member to their family. Brittany gave birth to Callen Christian Brees, the couple’s third son.
A lot of people are talking about Louis Murphy, Seyi Ajirotutu, rookie Joe Adams and even the injured David Gettis as Carolina’s No. 3 receiver. They might be overlooking second-year pro Kealoha Pilares, who quietly put together a nice training camp.
Now that it’s over, Bryan Strickland has day-by-day reflections on training camp for the Panthers.