Time for a morning look at the top headlines from around the NFC South:
Coach Mike Smith said fullback Bradie Ewing is completely recovered from an ACL injury that forced him to miss his rookie season. This is a big deal for the Falcons, who expected Ewing to start last season. Without him, the team had to get by with some very inconsistent play at fullback. Everyone talks about how the Falcons upgraded by adding Steven Jackson at running back, and there’s plenty of truth in that. But I also think Ewing’s return will be significant for the running game.
Scott Fowler writes that quarterback Cam Newton has made his competition in practice against middle linebacker Luke Kuechly a personal challenge. I see this only as a good thing. Kuechly already has established himself as one of the league’s best middle linebackers. It can only help Newton’s overall game if he’s holding his own in practice every day against one of the league’s best.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
In light of Joe Morgan’s arrest for driving under the influence, Mike Triplett writes that there were some red flags surrounding the wide receiver coming out of college. Morgan went undrafted largely because he was kicked off the team at Illinois for disciplinary reasons and had to finish his career at Walsh University. Morgan’s latest problem might put him down to his final strike with the Saints. He appeared to be in the mix for the spot as the third receiver. He still might be, if he can mature quickly. But the Saints have several other young receivers they can turn to.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The recent tornadoes in Oklahoma struck very close to the childhood home of Gerald McCoy. Martin Fennelly writes that the defensive tackle has donated to the relief effort and persuaded the Bucs to do the same.