NFC South evening update

Let’s make a quick swoop through some NFC South headlines on a day when much of the news involves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • Tampa Bay reportedly claimed receiver Jordan Shipley off waivers from Cincinnati. The Bucs are taking a bit of a leap here. Shipley hasn’t been the same since tearing his ACL. If he can somehow get his speed back, he could be a good fit as a slot receiver. If Shipley doesn’t have anything left, it’s not like the Bucs paid a big price for him.

  • Tampa Bay left tackle Donald Penn, who had been out with a calf injury, returned to practice Monday. Coach Greg Schiano said there may have been a silver lining to Penn’s injury. I get his point. Penn is a big guy and, in past seasons, he didn’t appear to be in consistently great shape. Penn spent all of training camp working on his conditioning and that may help him hold up better in the regular season.

  • Amazingly, running back LeGarrette Blount was back at practice Monday and worked with no limitations. Blount suffered a groin injury in Friday’s preseason game. At first, the injury appeared serious, but Blount didn’t miss any time.

  • The Bucs stepped slightly out of character Monday, signing veteran cornerback Brandon McDonald. This team usually goes with youth. McDonald has some experience as a starter. I think the Bucs are set with Eric Wright and Aqib Talib as their starters, but E.J. Biggers and Anthony Gaitor have been banged up. If they’re not ready by the start of the regular season, McDonald could have a shot at a roster spot.

  • With injuries to linebackers Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain, New Orleans assistant head coach Joe Vitt said the team’s pro personnel people will keep an eye on what’s available. Translation: The Saints will be signing a linebacker or two before long.

  • Carolina coach Ron Rivera said linebacker Thomas Davis could play in the next preseason game. Davis is trying to recover from his third torn ACL. Ordinarily, I’m in favor of being extremely cautious with injured players in the preseason. But Davis’ case is different. He’s had plenty of time to heal and the Panthers need to find out if he has anything left.

  • Atlanta coach Mike Smith announced backup left tackle Will Svitek will miss the season with an arm injury. That leaves rookie Lamar Holmes as the top backup behind Sam Baker. I think that means there’s a chance the Falcons could keep an eye out for backup tackles as other teams begin trimming their rosters.