I usually try to give you a look at the NFC South headlines in the morning. But we’re a little off schedule because we’re putting the finishing touches on our season previews that are scheduled to run Thursday and we’re doing some game planning for the regular season.
So let’s take this opportunity to squeeze in a quick look at what’s going on around the division.
Ira Kaufman writes that the Bucs plan to give Ted Larsen, Derek Hardman and Jamon Meredith some playing time at right guard during Wednesday night’s preseason finale at Washington. After losing Davin Joseph to a season-ending injury, the Bucs are scrambling to find a new starter. The Bucs will monitor the waiver wire in the coming days and you could see them bring in another guard as an eventual starter. But I think it’s likely the opening-day starter will be one of the three guys currently on the roster.
Mike Triplett reports that the New Orleans Saints’ practice facility appears to be holding up well as Hurricane Isaac hits the area. It still remains unclear if the Saints will return home immediately after their Thursday night preseason game at Tennessee.
Joseph Person has an overview of how Carolina’s 53-man roster could shape up. I think the most compelling position is wide receiver. Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell are set as the starters and Kealoha Pilares and Joe Adams are almost certain to make the roster because they have ability in the return game and promise as wide receivers. Louis Murphy, who was brought in via trade and played for coordinator Rob Chudzinski in San Diego seems to be the favorite for the third receiver spot. But it’s likely the Panthers will keep only six receivers and that means Seyi Ajirotutu, Armanti Edwards and Jared Green are on the bubble. Ajirotutu got some playing time last year and might be the favorite. Edwards, a third-round draft pick in 2010, did some good things in training camp, but it still might not be enough. Green is an undrafted free agent who had a great training camp, but he seems likely to be the victim of a numbers crunch. But I think there’s a good chance Green ends up back on the practice squad.
Like a lot of coaches, Atlanta’s Mike Smith is very guarded with injury information. But he’s not nearly as secretive when it comes to discussing how he plans to use his personnel. As he’s done several times this offseason, he again said Jacquizz Rodgers can be more than a change-of-pace back. The Falcons aren’t ready to move him ahead of Michael Turner as their feature back, but it’s pretty obvious the Falcons want to work Rodgers into the rotation a significant amount this season. If he does well, he could end up being the feature back in 2013.