Time for a look at some odds and ends from around the division:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
In an anonymous league-wide poll by The Sporting News, players voted Greg Schiano as the coach they would least like to play for. Yeah, Schiano is hard-nosed, but I think his reputation precedes him around the league. The guys who actually do play for him aren’t complaining. That’s largely because the Bucs are faring pretty well. As long as the on-field results are positive, I don’t think you’re going to see a mutiny in Tampa Bay’s locker room.
Speaking of Schiano and discipline, the coach said he had “candid conversations’’ with safety Ahmad Black, who reportedly was cited for -- but not officially arrested -- marijuana possession. Schiano said he took internal action. But the NFL could discipline Black if it’s determined he violated the personal conduct policy.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Although Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram are getting most of the credit for New Orleans suddenly having a running game, Mike Triplett points out in his weekly film study that the offensive line, the tight ends and running game coordinator Aaron Kromer all played a role in the success against Philadelphia. But let’s keep in mind the Eagles are a team in disarray and recently changed defensive coordinators. We’ll get a better read on New Orleans’ running game on Sunday when the Saints face an Atlanta run defense that’s been pretty good in its past few games.
As you might expect, Denver coach John Fox said he’s not getting too sentimental about his return to Charlotte, where he spent nine seasons coaching the Panthers. Fox said Sunday’s game is merely a “business trip." I have no doubt that’s how Fox is approaching this game, for the most part. But Fox is a man with pride and his time in Carolina didn’t end well. I think that might give him a little extra incentive on this one.
Here’s yet another story about the Falcons and the whole “respect’’ thing. Funny, but I think this is more a creation of fans and media than anything. Tight end Tony Gonzalez seems to be the only player willing to say the Falcons aren’t getting as much national attention as they deserve. I’m not sure what he wants because it sure seems like the Falcons are getting plenty of attention. Besides, I know most of coach Mike Smith’s sayings by heart and I’m almost sure one of them is, “You earn respect. Do your job and the respect will come.’’ Or something pretty close to that.