Let's take a look at some news and notes from around the NFC South:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Although it’s obvious the Bucs are going with Doug Martin as their starting running back to open the season, coach Greg Schiano said the competition will continue if LeGarrette Blount outperforms the rookie. Here’s the reality: The Bucs drafted Martin to be their starter and he then went out and solidified his position during training camp and the preseason. Blount’s going to get some playing time and carries, but, unless Martin really struggles in the preseason, the depth chart isn’t going to change.
Mark Cook has a list of five defensive players that could be on Tampa Bay’s roster bubble. He leads it off with safety Cody Grimm, who has been a starter in the past. Grimm also has been a fan favorite and it’s not going to go over well if he doesn’t make the team. But that’s how the NFL world works and Ahmad Black, Larry Asante and Keith Tandy might be ahead of Grimm in the pecking order.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Mike Triplett has a column on James Nagoaka. Maybe you never have heard of Nagoaka, but he’s played a tremendously important role as the Saints’ director of operations. Nagoaka handles logistics. Every team has someone like this, but Nagoaka probably has faced more challenges than his peers. He’s the guy who made all the arrangements to get the Saints out of New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Isaac and he’s handled several evacuations in the past.
Although he’s suspended for the first three games, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita, a former member of the Saints, said he’s optimistic he’ll play in the season opener. If that does indeed happen, it’s probably really good news for the Saints. Fujita has joined with current New Orleans players Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith in an attempt to get a temporary restraining order on their suspensions. I’m not sure how Vilma’s knee is these days, but, given the injuries the Saints have had at linebacker recently, they’d be thrilled if Vilma somehow is cleared to play. It also wouldn’t hurt if defensive end Will Smith is able to play at the start of the season.
Here’s an interesting fact I wish I had known about running back Lyndon Rowells before he was released by the Panthers. Rowells was a record-setting Lumberjack.
Bryan Strickland has a look at the fantasy values of Carolina’s offensive players and says quarterback Cam Newton is a steal if you can get him in the third round. Too bad a friend of mine didn’t read this item before her draft. In a league where points are weighted heavily toward quarterbacks, she took Newton at No. 4 overall. I think that might have been a wee bit early.
In the Mike Smith/Thomas Dimitroff era, 29 of their 32 draft picks have made the regular roster or the practice squad. But D. Orlando Ledbetter makes a good point as he writes that some members of this year’s draft class may have a hard time sticking around. The Falcons like what they’ve got. That’s why they kept their own players in free agency and didn’t pursue a lot from outside. They also were without a first-round pick this year and, as a playoff team, were pretty low in the draft order.
It looks like someone finally has gotten to the bottom of the mysterious foot injury that will keep defensive tackle Corey Peters out for at least the first six games. Coach Mike Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Peters suffered a stress fracture in his foot while working out on his own prior to the start of the team’s offseason program.