Let's take a look at the top Thursday morning headlines from around the division:
D. Orlando Ledbetter takes a look at how the roster might shape up. He says undrafted rookie quarterback Dominique Davis is on the bubble and says the Falcons may try to get him on their practiced squad. Davis has had a great preseason and the Falcons would have to first waive him to get him on the practice squad. That would be dangerous because another team could scoop up Davis.
Sports Illustrated picks the Falcons to win the NFC South. Keep in mind, the magazine picked the Falcons to win the Super Bowl last season. We’ll have our season previews and predictions a bit later on Thursday. Stay tuned.
Coach Ron Rivera would not say definitively if he plans to play his starters in Thursday’s preseason finale. You might see some of the starters play a little bit. But you also may see Rivera do the same thing Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano did Wednesday night and hold out his starters completely.
The preseason finale could be the end of Armanti Edwards’ time in Carolina. The Panthers drafted the former Appalachian State quarterback in 2010 and the thinking was that he could make the transition and become a dynamic return man. Edwards’ first two years were hugely disappointing. He did have a good training camp this year, but he clearly is on the bubble as the Panthers debate whether to carry six or seven receivers on the roster.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Nakia Hogan has the latest on Jonathan Vilma’s attempt to get his season-long suspension overturned. A hearing will be heard by an appeals board. Vilma is appealing an arbitrator’s decision that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not have jurisdiction to suspend Vilma and three other current or former Saints for their roles in what the league says was a three-year bounty program. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan previously has said she’d feel more comfortable ruling on Vilma’s request for a temporary restraining order after the appeals process with the NFL was exhausted.
Rookie Nick Toon and Joseph Morgan could be in a battle for the final spot at receiver. Toon’s preseason has been thrown off a bit by injury. But, as long as he’s completely healthy, I think the fourth-round draft pick makes the roster.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Receiver Jordan Shipley has been with the Bucs for only a week. That’s why the team won’t go only on what it’s seen in a handful of practices and brief preseason action in deciding Shipley’s roster fate. The Bucs will look closely at Shipley’s tape from his time in Cincinnati. Shipley had a nice rookie season for the Bengals in 2010, but tore up his knee last year. The Bengals apparently didn’t believe Shipley had gotten his speed back. Now, it’s up to the Bucs to decide if Shipley’s knee is healthy enough to keep him around.
Defensive backs Sean Baker, Keith Tandy and Leonard Johnson have used the preseason to strengthen their cases for roster spots. The problem is there might be only one spot remaining at defensive back.