Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas.
A quick trip around the NFC South.
The team gave rookie quarterback Matt Ryan some work with the first team in a scrimmage Friday night. Ryan connected with Roddy White on a 65-yard touchdown pass on his second series. Atlanta's coaches still are trying to decide if they want Ryan to be the starter to open the season or if it's better to let him sit and learn behind Chris Redman. Ryan's showing in the scrimmage made a pretty good case for getting him on the field immediately.
Naturally, most of the running back talk has been about Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. But don't forget about Pierre Thomas. After a strong finish last year, he's in the mix for playing time and he may be more than just a special teams player.
The team has its annual Fan Fest Saturday at Bank of America Stadium, but the usually joyful day will be overshadowed by Friday's altercation between Steve Smith and Ken Lucas. A decision on discipline for Smith, which is likely to be a suspension for at least one regular-season game, will be coming soon. The Panthers may announce their decision later today or they may wait until Monday as the team has Sunday off.
With Jeff Garcia sitting out with an injury, the Bucs have been giving quarterback Luke McCown most of the first-team snaps. He's working ahead of Brian Griese. This is significant because coach Jon Gruden usually prefers veterans. But McCown may have opened some eyes with strong play late last season and an excellent offseason.