Time for an afternoon run through the top news and notes from around the division:
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, could be ready to return Sunday against Arizona. Weatherspoon didn’t practice Wednesday, but coach Mike Smith indicated there’s a chance he could get some practice time Thursday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle) did not practice. Smith said Jones’ status will be evaluated again Thursday, but his injury could be one reason why the Falcons signed receiver Tim Toone on Tuesday night.
Although his first stint with the Panthers was marred by some off-field problems, offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges said he’s calmed down now. Bridges, who previously played for the Panthers from 2006 through 2008, was re-signed Wednesday and become an immediate starter at right guard, a position where the Panthers have had some problems. Defensive end Thomas Keiser was placed on injured reserve to open the roster spot for Bridges.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Although running back Darren Sproles (hand) returned to practice Wednesday, right tackle Zach Strief (groin) sat out. It’s beginning to look like Charles Brown will get another start at right tackle.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
With strongside linebacker Quincy Black out for the rest of the season, coach Greg Schiano said the team likely will go with Adam Hayward as his replacement. That makes the most sense because Hayward has more experience than rookie Najee Goode and Jacob Cutrera. Hayward also has shown some flashes as a backup and on special teams.