Let’s take a run through some afternoon news and notes from all corners of the NFC South:
In this radio interview, free-agent safety William Moore said he doesn’t have “the slightest idea’’ if he’ll re-sign with the Falcons. Maybe negotiations just haven’t gotten down to a crucial point yet. But the Falcons quietly have been putting out the word that they want to re-sign their own free agents and I’m pretty sure Moore is near the top of that list.
The Falcons held a symposium for current and former players to prepare for life after football. The program is run by director of player development Kevin Winston, who is one of the best in the league at what he does.
Bryan Strickland writes that the offensive line could be an area the Panthers address early in the draft. That makes some sense. Center Ryan Kalil and left tackle Jordan Gross are the only top-notch players on this line and Gross is getting older. The Panthers are building the franchise around quarterback Cam Newton and they have to make sure he’s protected.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Coach Sean Payton has taken some criticism for hiring Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. In this radio interview, Payton defended the move, saying it wasn’t a popularity contest. That’s the right way to handle that kind of move. Payton needs to get his defense straightened out and can’t worry about whether fans like Ryan or not. If the defense plays well, Ryan quickly will become popular.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Although the Bucs don’t appear to be ready to give Josh Freeman a contract extension just yet, Mark Cook writes that it’s important to the future of general manager Mark Dominik and coach Greg Schiano for the quarterback to have a big 2013 season. If Freeman struggles and the Bucs don’t make the playoffs, Dominik could be on the hot seat and Schiano could be in the tough spot of having to start over with a new quarterback in his third season as coach. That’s why I expect the Bucs to use free agency to surround Freeman with every possible weapon to make sure he succeeds.