Hitting the NFC South hot spots

Time for a run through the NFC South headlines.

This column says the Buccaneers turned down HBO’s “Hard Knocks’’ because of all the off-field problems this team has had over the past year or so. No doubt there’s some truth to that. But it wasn’t just about the off-field issues. The Bucs also turned the show down because they didn’t want to look like they’ve truly arrived before they really have. They’re thrilled about last season’s 10-6 record, but also realize they didn’t make the playoffs. If they got all the preseason hype, they’d enter this season as a big target and that could set the tone for a step back.

Mike Triplett has a good story on how the New Orleans coaches and front office have adjusted schedules in the offseason. The Saints are way ahead of schedule in scouting opponents for the upcoming season and have done an extra review of personnel from last season.

A former detective who investigated the incident involving Carolina linebacker Jon Beason testified in a civil suit that the plaintiff previously plotted to get another professional athlete to hit him, so he could sue that athlete. This part is unconfirmed, but there are rumblings Aqib Talib's cab driver has been driving the plaintiff to and from court each day.

Television analyst Brian Baldinger said the man who may benefit most from Atlanta drafting receiver Julio Jones might be running back Michael Turner. His logic is Roddy White and Jones will give quarterback Matt Ryan two quality receiving targets and that will prevent defenses from devoting so much attention to the running game.