NFC South links: Saints staying sharp

Atlanta Falcons

In his upcoming autobiography, former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick admits his "propensity for trying to lie [his] way out of trouble" -- to police investigators, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, owner Arthur Blank, his own defense attorney -- "only made [his] consequences more severe."

The Falcoholic takes an early look at which Falcons will make the Pro Bowl in 2011.

Carolina Panthers

Several Panthers players will take batting practice from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Monday with the Charlotte Knights.

In an interview with the Fayetteville Observer, coach Ron Rivera talked about what the team might do when free agency finally arrives. "Well, I think there are a couple of positions we most certainly need to make sure there are some good veteran depth there. ... We made a couple of moves here in the draft, but we’d still like to see if we can find a veteran defensive line guy who could help us. You look at our linebackers and we’ve got a couple of guys who are coming back after injuries, so we’ve got to see if there’s potentially if there’s a veteran guy we could bring in. The same thing with the defensive back position."

New Orleans Saints

Leaders such as Jonathan Vilma make sure the Saints' players stay sharp. "... [W]e know this is a time when a player can slip through the cracks. You can get soft. You can say, 'I'm taking this week off. I'm partying tonight.' And pretty soon you're out of shape. No one on this team is doing that because of guys like Drew [Brees] and the leaders we have on this team. Everyone is working twice as hard because they don't want to relax a minute and get soft," Vilma said.

Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune has a story on Paige Cothren, the first player to sign a formal contract with the Saints.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reflecting on the life of former Tampa Tribune sports editor and columnist Tom McEwen, who died on Sunday at age 88, here, here and here.