Around the NFC South

Let's take a look at the Monday morning headlines from around the NFC South:

  • Atlanta middle linebacker Akeem Dent was on the field for 28 snaps in Friday’s preseason game against Miami. That was Dent’s most extensive action of the preseason as he sat out the second game after missing the first with a concussion. It appears as if the Falcons still plan to use the second-year pro as their starting middle linebacker. The limited preseason action shouldn’t hurt Dent too much. He’s expected to play mostly on running downs while keeping outside linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas on the field on passing downs.

  • New Orleans Jonathan Casillas got his first-ever start at middle linebacker in Saturday’s preseason game against Houston. Casillas has spent his career playing on the outside and the move was out of desperation due to injuries to starting linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne and backup Ramon Humber. But it’s at least possible Casillas still could be in the middle on opening day. Lofton, the No. 1 middle linebacker has a high-ankle sprain, has said he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season, but there are no guarantees. Hawthorne, who is projected as a starter on the outside, is recovering from a knee injury and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season. The Saints did trade for veteran Barrett Ruud, but he’s had some injury problems in the past and has had only a few practices with the Saints. Casillas could be the safe short-term alternative if Lofton isn’t ready for opening day.

  • The Saints have the day off to prepare their families for the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac. They aren’t the only NFC South team impacted by the storm. The Buccaneers also have canceled their Monday practice due to the threat of severe weather in the Tampa Bay area. The course of the storm has veered away from Tampa Bay, but the area is still dealing with strong winds and sporadic rain. The Bucs are still gathering at their facility for meetings and weight lifting. They’re scheduled to fly out Tuesday for Wednesday night’s preseason game at Washington.

  • Tom Sorensen writes that Carolina’s offense wasn’t very impressive in Sunday night’s preseason victory against the New York Jets. He’s right. The Panthers had a few nice moments, but the offense wasn’t able to put much together on a consistent basis. I don’t think that’s much of a concern. We all know coordinator Rob Chudzinski is going to show a lot more in the regular season than he did in the preseason. It’s also important to remember that Carolina’s offense was without top receiver Steve Smith.