Around the NFC South

KENNER, La. -- The 2011 NFC South Training Camp Tour is almost over. Well, at least the part where I have to get on airplanes.

I’m at Louis Armstrong International Airport, waiting for a flight home to Tampa. I’ll be out visiting the Bucs, who I’ve already seen a few times, next week. I’ll have our Camp Confidential segment on the Saints on Friday and our NFC South chat also will resume Friday at 1 p.m. ET. The Camp Confidential segment on the Bucs will run next week.

Before I take off, let’s take a look at some links from around the NFC South.

In this Insider post,Insider Football Outsiders talks about plugging the holes in the NFC South. One of the questions is if Tampa Bay will regret letting middle linebacker Barrett Ruud leave as a free agent. Legitimate question and I do think it’s a little risky to go with Mason Foster, a third-round pick, as the quarterback of a defense that’s very young, particularly in the front seven. But coach Raheem Morris has had some good luck getting rookies to produce quickly in the past.

In this radio interview with WDAE’s Steve Duemig, Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber, the elder statesman of the Bucs, said he believes troubled teammate Aqib Talib is a good person, but needs to make better decisions when it comes to off-field conduct.

In this radio interview with Charlotte’s WFNZ, Carolina coach Ron Rivera said he’s confident either rookie Cam Newton or second-year pro Jimmy Clausen will step forward and earn the starting quarterback job.

In a bit of a surprise move, the New Orleans Saints have waived veteran Danny Clark, who was thought to be in the mix for a starting job at outside linebacker. But the Saints have been happy with what they’ve seen out of several other linebackers, particularly Will Herring, and it looks like they want to get a little younger at this position.

The Bucs plan to play rookie defensive end Da'Quan Bowers in Friday’s preseason opener. He’s coming off January knee surgery. Second-year receiver Arrelious Benn, also coming off knee surgery, is expected to dress for the game, but won’t play.

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, who is coming back after two major knee injuries, missed Thursday morning’s practice. Rivera said Davis was having a foot injury examined, but didn’t offer any more details.