Afternoon roundup: Practice squads, Gruden praises Garcia

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas


The Panthers signed five guys -- Nick Hayden, Geoff Schwartz, DeCori Birmingham, William Buchanon and Joe Fields -- to their practice squad. What's more interesting is that they did not sign quarterback Brett Basanez, who has practice-squad eligibility. Basanez, who went through the preseason as the No. 3 quarterback, became expendable after the Panthers traded a 2009 seventh-round pick for Josh McCown.


The Saints released part of their practice schedule for Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. As of now (and everything's subject to change because of Hurricane Gustav), the Saints will practice in Indianapolis through Friday and they have a practice scheduled for their own facility in suburban New Orleans on Saturday.


After spending part of the preseason whispering in Brett Favre's ear, coach Jon Gruden was singing the praises of Jeff Garcia after practice Sunday.

"It's actually refreshing to have the same guy two years in a row," Gruden told the media. "We like Jeff a lot. He's had a tough offseason in regards to the calf injury. He's missed a lot of time, but he was outstanding here today. He's the strength of our offensive football team. He's a veteran signal caller and he's a great competitor. I think Brian Griese and Luke [McCown] showed that they're really capable of running the offense and they've had success in the system themselves. We are excited about the quarterback position and we'll see what happens."

Gruden also said Garcia seems to be in good health after missing much of training camp and the preseason.

"I think he's good," Gruden said. "We had Jeff and a number of players out there before the Houston game about five o'clock. We were out there about two-and-a-half hours before kickoff and I personally got to chase him around like a chicken and test his mobility. We worked him hard, really hard, all those guys. I can't speak for him, but I do think he's close to 100 percent. I think he feels a lot better."


Atlanta claimed defensive tackle Jason Jefferson off waivers. To make room for him, the Falcons released defensive tackle Tim Anderson. The Falcons also signed wide receiver Eric Weems, tight end Keith Zinger, offensive lineman D'Anthony Batiste, defensive end Brandon Miller and defensive backs Glenn Sharpe and Eric Brock to the practice squad.