Time for a quick look at the top Friday morning headlines from around the division:
Kent Somers writes that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is likely to be a candidate for a job as a head coach after the season. That might happen, but Koetter can only help his chances at a bigger job if he can develop some sort of running game to go with Atlanta’s passing game.
Speaking of Atlanta’s running game, the Falcons came into the season saying they planned to limit the number of carries for Michael Turner. The running back said he still is adjusting to that role. He better adjust quickly, because the Falcons already are into the second half of their season.
D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that defensive ends Lawrence Sidbury, Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi all have a chance at increased playing time after the release of Ray Edwards. Matthews is the guy I’d keep an eye on. He has the most value on special teams, and that means he’s likely to be active on game days and should get a spot in the rotation at defensive end.
Ron Green Jr. has a nice story on how linebacker Thomas Davis has made a successful comeback from his third torn ACL. Davis is believed to be the first NFL player to accomplish that, and that alone should make him a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. But Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson probably have a better shot at the award because they have higher profiles.
Although the Panthers named Richard Rodgers as their special teams coach after firing Brian Murphy this week, they’re using a committee approach, and other assistants are now involved with the special teams.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Mike Triplett writes that Sean Payton probably will take his time in getting a new contract done with the Saints. That would give Payton time to see if the Dallas job, which Triplett says is the only job that might lure him away from the Saints, does come open. If you’re a Saints’ fan, it’s time to start rooting for the Cowboys to go on a playoff run so that coach Jason Garrett keeps his job.
Deuce McAllister said he’ll be happy to see receiver Marques Colston break his franchise record for touchdowns scored. The two are currently tied with 55 apiece. McAllister said he has always admired how hard Colston has worked.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Erik Erlendsson has a feature on how fullback Erik Lorig has emerged as an important part of Tampa Bay’s offense. Lorig already has a career-high nine receptions, and has been doing a nice job blocking for Doug Martin.
Cornerback Aqib Talib spoke with the Boston-area media for the first time since he was traded from Tampa Bay to New England. Talib wouldn’t talk about his past troubles and said, when he met with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the focus was only on the present.