NEW ORLEANS -- Before we begin another day of Super Bowl hoopla, let's take a look at the headlines from around the division:
Although Calvin Johnson generally is viewed as the NFL’s best wide receiver, at least one long-time personnel guru ranks Atlanta's Julio Jones ahead of him. I think that might be a little premature. Jones already is very good and has the potential to become the best, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet.
The Falcons announced they have promoted Marty Lauzon to director of sports medicine and performance, and named A.J. Neibel as the strength and conditioning coach. Lauzon was the team’s head trainer the past three seasons. Neibel was a strength and conditioning assistant the past two seasons.
Receiver Steve Smith told Joseph Person he’s happy the team promoted Mike Shula from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Smith said he expects Shula to keep predecessor Rob Chudzinski’s system largely in place. I agree that continuity is very important in this situation, and I also think it’s significant that the mercurial receiver is on board with this move, otherwise Shula’s chances of succeeding would be doomed from the start.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Mike Triplett writes that you don’t have to look beyond the Super Bowl to understand why the Saints are switching to a 3-4 defense. Both the Ravens and 49ers use that as their base system. The NFL is a copy-cat league, and teams follow what’s working elsewhere. The system switch is good, but the Saints still have a lot of work to do in upgrading their personnel to make the 3-4 work.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The team reportedly has fired special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky It seems a little strange that the Bucs waited this long to make a move. But I’m assuming coach Greg Schiano would not have made this move if his eyes weren’t already on a replacement.